Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Jay Strack

Dr. Jay Strack is the author of several books and the founder of Student Leadership University. The mission of SLU is to develop and equip student leaders to think, dream and lead. Visit SLULead.com.

Dr. Jay Strack, longtime evangelist and founder of Student Leadership University, visited with Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University, about his faith story and founding an outreach for student leaders.

After experiencing the life-altering power of Jesus, Strack spoke to students in an estimated 10,000 high school assemblies over the course of two decades. Then, a turning point in his ministry came when Billy Graham asked Strack a simple question: who would carry on Strack’s ministry after him?

“From that moment on, I had four or five guys who would go with us,” Strack said. Strack realized the value of developing leaders of the faith and not only followers. He envisioned inspiring promising youth and the church workers who discipled them.

“Bigger was better in my mind, but all of a sudden I was hearing a heart cry,” Strack said. “I said, ‘We’re going to come up with a solution.’ What could I do that the Lord has called me to do that maybe not everyone is doing?”

The idea of investing in youth led to the development of Student Leadership University. Student participants in SLU 101 through 401 explore how to think, dream, lead and serve with the Gospel at the forefront through life-changing trips. Students have an introduction to the program in a US city during their first year, visit Washington, DC the second year, visit major world cities including London, Oxford, Normandy and Paris the third year, and travel to Israel and Jordan during the fourth year.

SLU outreaches include Lift Tours that teach teens to live for Christ and Youth Pastor Summits that help equip youth leaders. The concept of SLU is unique among ministries, and has made an indelible difference for those involved. “We want to be a game-changer,” Strack said.

Listen to the complete podcast on HBU.edu.

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Jerry Jenkins and Craig Evans

Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at HBU. He is a sought-after biblical scholar and New Testament expert. His books and teaching have encouraged many and led skeptics to faith in Jesus Christ.

Jerry Jenkins is a bestselling author of numerous books, including the famous “Left Behind” series. Together, they have collaborated to create the novel, “Dead Sea Rising.”

Visit CraigAEvans.com and JerryJenkins.com.

The team behind the recently released “Dead Sea Rising: A Novel” spoke with Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University. The collaboration came out of Jerry B. Jenkins’ ability to weave stories that appeal to a popular audience, and Dr. Craig Evans’ historical and archeological expertise.

Evans remembers his initial idea behind a historical fiction piece. “I was interested in writing something that relates to the past, that has real archeology, but has great implications for the present and could lead to a whole new understanding and peace,” he says. “I realized, ‘I can’t write this. Fiction is complicated.’”

That’s when Evans’ literary agent steered him to the talents held by the likes of Jenkins. “We hit it off right away,” Evans says. “It was a lot of fun exploring possibilities.”

Evans and Jenkins worked together to create a plot about a woman in her late 30s in a modern-day setting. Her story intersects with the past, allowing Evans’ expertise to play into the storyline. While Evans doesn’t consider himself a fiction writer, he did try his hand at creative writing.

“I have made up scholarly conversations – the kind you might overhear,” Evans says. “I like to feed him stuff that he can seize and incorporate. My goal is to make sure that everything has to do with history, archeology and scholarship.”

A paid writer since age 14, Jenkins considers it his mission to write for God’s glory. “In my mid-teens, I was called to full-time Christian work,” he says. “I thought that was the end of my writing. The wife of a Christian speaker actually encouraged me. She said God sometimes equips us before He calls us. If you’re equipped to be a writer, that may be the vehicle you use to fulfill your calling.”

Jenkins progressed in his gift from being a teenaged sports writer to a New York Times bestselling author, known for almost 200 books, including the “Left Behind” series.

“I’d like my legacy to be that I was obedient to the call,” Jenkins says. “That’s success.”


Listen or watch the complete podcast at HBU.edu.

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Elizabeth Saldivar

Elizabeth Saldivar serves as chair of the Student Foundation, a group whose members serve as fitting representatives of the University, interacting with friends and guests of HBU at various events. She is a student worker in the President’s Office, at the desk of the Academic Success Center, and serves as a tutor. Saldivar also serves as a mentor for the Summer Launch and Impact programs, and is a historian for the Filipino Student Association. As a management major, she is the first person in her family to go to college. Continue reading “Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Elizabeth Saldivar”

Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Andre Walker

André Walker III is a defensive end on the HBU Football team and is a pre-med major. Walker is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Alpha Epsilon Delta (the pre-med society). In the summer of 2018, he shadowed team physician, Dr. Vishal M. Shah, and participated in the Summer Health Professions Education Program at Columbia University.  Continue reading “Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Andre Walker”

Has Your Faith Affected Your Promotions?

Dr. Cristie Jo Johnston: Has your outspoken Christianity, your outspoken faith, caused any problems with your promotions here at Rice University? Because we see that in other parts of the country. What about for you here?

Dr. James Tour: Nothing has happened in promotions as far as professorial promotions at Rice. I came to Rice as a chaired professor and I’ve maintained that chair. Thirty years ago, things were different than they are now. In 2004, approximately when the Dover trial occurred, there was a sort of change where people started thinking more critically toward Christians. I have been held back tremendously in awards and in societies – in professional societies that have not permitted me to come in because of my faith – because of my not buying in wholeheartedly to the mantra of evolution.

Dr. James Tour’s scientific research areas include nanoelectronics, graphene electronics and photovoltaics, carbon supercapacitors, lithium ion batteries, chemical self-assembly and carbon nanotube and graphene synthetic modifications. He has also worked extensively on carbon composites, hydrogen storage, and practical applications in medicine and oil recovery for nanoengineered carbon. He is perhaps best known for his carbon-based fullerene-wheeled “nanocars,” a 2005 breakthrough feat in nanoengineering that produced functional, rolling vehicles just a few nanometers in size.

Tour also built small humanoids using similar technology. An example called the “NanoKid” became the basis for a school-based learning program for children that introduced them to nanoscience. His commitment to science education continued with his more recent Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero science educational package development for middle school education.

Tour received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Syracuse Univ., and his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue Univ. He joined the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University in 1999. Tour has more than 650 research publications, more than 120 patents and averages more than 3,000 citations per year.

Jerry Johnston Interviews Holly Ordway on Discipleship in the Church


The statistics regarding the non-religious and “dones” (de-conversions) continues to rise dramatically in North America. At some point, our focus must turn inward and address the efficacy of the effectiveness of contemporary churches and para-churches.  Are we adequately catechizing believers? Continue reading “Jerry Johnston Interviews Holly Ordway on Discipleship in the Church”