LITTLE ROCK – In all, 49 decisions for Christ were recorded at HuntFest: A Fellowship for Men and Boys, held Aug. 25, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. This is the fourth year HuntFest was sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC). 1,350 men and boys attended the event.
Jimmy Houston, called “America’s Favorite Fisherman,” and host of a fishing show that has run on TV for 35 years, was the featured speaker at HuntFest, sharing fishing tales and his testimony.
Houston’s TV show, “Jimmy Houston Outdoors,” appeared on ESPN for 20 years before moving to NBC Sports and other channels. He appears at hundreds of bass tournaments each year and is “always ready to share a fishing story or his faith in Christ,” according to his biographical information. Houston is the author of several books, including a new “Catch of the Day” devotional that includes fishing tips and stories. Houston will speak at 7 p.m.
“Our goal with HuntFest is to have a high-energy, high-impact men and boys event that is fun, fellowship-oriented and evangelistic,” said Sonny Tucker, leader of the ABSC evangelism and church growth team, prior to the event. “We will share the gospel using a high-profile national personality sharing his faith story that leads into the plan of salvation followed by an invitation where the attendees are given a chance to commit their lives to Christ.”
Tucker added that churches across Arkansas were planning to use HuntFest for outreach.
“While this event is open to the entire state, many churches have stated that this will become their churches sportsman’s banquet for their men and boys and an outreach event for their unchurched prospects,” he said.
Jimmy Houston ‘fishes for men’
HuntFest draws 1,350; 53 accept Christ
Arkansas Baptist News
LITTLE ROCK – In all, 53 decisions for Christ were recorded at HuntFest: A Fellowship for Men and Boys, held Aug. 25, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. More than 1,300 men and boys attended the event, which is sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).
Jimmy Houston, called “America’s Favorite Fisherman,” and host of a fishing show that has run on TV for 35 years, was the featured speaker at HuntFest, sharing tips and fishing tales – but Houston was all business when it came to sharing his faith in Jesus Christ.
As HuntFest participates enjoyed a dinner of barbecue, Houston walked on stage with a fishing rod and showcased his abilities by casting into the audience while teaching a “pitching” technique, at one point landing his bait in the lap of an audience member.
“Don’t worry, I’m deadly accurate,” assured Houston.
After the short fishing lesson, Houston gave his testimony. While happy to share his knowledge about fishing, he was clearly more excited to share God’s work in his life.
“I have read the Bible through every year since my 20s, probably 40-50 times, and I can tell you that the God I serve is a living God,” said Houston, adding, “He is working in my life and in the life of every other Christian out there.”
Jokingly, Houston described his childhood growing up as a “drug kid.”
“My parents drug me to church every time the doors were open, whether on Sunday mornings to the worship service and Sunday school or on Wednesdays to RAs. I was incredibly blessed to have been born into a strong Christian family,” Houston laughed. “I got saved when I was 12. To be honest the main reason was because I didn’t want to go to hell.
“And if all that we were given by accepting Christ was a free pass out of hell, that would be a pretty good deal. But that isn’t the case. God blesses everyone he saves. I believe that when somebody gets saved that God sits up there and starts to pour out blessings that continue throughout their life,” he added.
Houston warned those present there are plenty of times in the lives of Christians that we harm our relationship with God by not being obedient.
“Sometimes, we cheat ourselves out of blessings by being disobedient. When we don’t do certain things that God has commanded us to do we limit his blessings on our lives. In my opinion one of the biggest mistakes we make is when we don’t tithe. God has made it easy for us. He asks us for 10 percent,” said Houston.
“Another mistake that many of make is when we expect our life to be perfect after we accept Christ. I can tell that this isn’t the case. Saved people still have to face struggles like anybody else. But I can tell you that for Christians, God is the closest in the valleys. God carries us through the struggles.”
Houston concluded with an invitation to accept Christ.
“One of the hardest things for a man to do is to get to the point where he can believe that God loves him enough to forget all the lousy things he’s done in his life,” he said.
In addition to Houston, HuntFest featured a variety of games for the youngsters, Bluegrass music and giveaways.
Caleb Yarbrough is the media specialist at the Arkansas Baptist News.