The Rev. Jonathan Stockstill is “ready to roll” after officially taking over the leadership of Bethany World Prayer Center during a joint Bethany United service on Sunday at the north campus.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who are not serving God right now that need to hear the voice of hope, need to hear the voice of grace, need to hear the call of Christ,” Stockstill said to the overflow crowd. “And I feel more determined than ever to see Bethany expand (and) multiply.
“So do I have a cause that I’m living for? You bet,” he said. “Do I have a vision that’s huge? You bet. Do I want to go? Do I want to run? And am I ready to roll? Yes. And my question to you, Bethany, is are you with me? Are you ready to roll? Are you ready to go?”
Stockstill, 30, takes over from his father, the Rev. Larry Stockstill, to lead the multicampus church with thousands of members. Larry Stockstill, who served as lead pastor for 28 years, plans to remain on the Bethany staff. The Rev. Roy Stockstill, Larry Stockstill’s father, started the church as Bethany Baptist Church in the family’s living room in 1963.
“In no way, shape or form do I feel like I have the ability on my own strength to lead this awesome group of people, to lead, to feed, to care for, to shepherd,” Jonathan Stockstill said. “But I also know that God’s Holy Spirit is inside of me, and it’s because of that I feel the authority and I feel the ability to move forward with this.”
When the possibility was raised two years ago about assuming the church’s leadership role, Stockstill, who has been the church’s worship leader, said his initial response was no.
“I didn’t hear the call of God. I was passionate about worship. I was passionate about traveling around the world and getting worship released to nations,” said Stockstill, who has released two CDs as a frontman for the band Deluge.
Then came a call from God in November.
“I was getting off the exit there at Siegen Lane and the spirit of God fell on my truck, and God spoke to me and he said, ‘Jonathan, you’re going to pastor this church,’ and I remember the peace of God which fell in that moment,” he said. “This is not just about a man passing on something to his children, to his son. This is something God has spoken to me directly about.”
Bethany member Curtis Badon, 54, is among those excited about the transition.
“I believe the Lord’s really going to use him to bless a lot of people,” Badon said.
The hope behind the Gospel Under the Stars concert is to shine some positive light on a needed area of Baton Rouge, said host Kerwin Fealing.
The event — based on Scripture, “And the heavens declared the glory of God” — is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at 1509 Highland Road, next to House of Refuge Ministries.
That area around Highland Road often receives attention for the wrong reasons, Fealing said. “It’s always crime, somebody getting shot, drugs. We’re just going to just try to set an example for people passing through that area that we serve a risen savior.”
Among the artists scheduled to appear are Anointed 2 Dance; Deanie (Bernadette Stevens), of Lafayette; Avow ( A Voice of Worship), of Lafayette; House of Refugee Ministries Praise Team; Michael Harrell and No Strings Attached; Divine Presence; Sharonda Cooper; Reginald Collins; Karen Mire; God’s Allstar Male Choir; Tawanna Tarvin, a Season 3 finalist on the “Sunday’s Best” gospel show; Shalaai; Andre Saxsation Johnson and Brenda Richard (Sign Of The Times).
For more information. call Fealing at (225) 650-6109.
The flight from adolescence to manhood is likened to a fighter pilot getting ready for a mission in a remarkably blunt new book aimed at boys.
“Any fighter pilot will probably tell you that good preparation before the flight is essential to a successful mission,” say authors Lee Burns and Braxton Brady in “Flight Plan: Your Mission to Become a Man” (Zondervan publishers).
Pilots spend thousands of hours learning how to fly, the authors note.
Also, there’s testing and servicing the plane, fueling the plane and learning the goal and details of the mission.
“The takeoff is but a few seconds; the mission is but a few hours; but the preparation is years in making. You are a man in the making. Before you race down the runway and head in the sky, it’s important and wise to make sure you are well prepared and equipped for the flight.”
The authors said they used the Bible as a foundation for the 194-page book, which they hope serves as a resource and source for boys, their parents and adults who work with boys. And the authors do an admirable job in helping educate boys on such subjects as dating, infatuation, kissing, puberty, sex, homosexuality, pornography, materialism, family and Christian relationships.
“Real authentic manhood begins with a purpose,” they write. “Man’s purpose in life is to glorify God in all he says and does.”
On sex: “Sex is not a dirty word. It should not be a mysterious word. God, in fact, created sex for us to enjoy, but there are lies about sex and a great deal of misinformation … The most important restriction on sex is God wants you to only have sex in marriage with your wife … Despite these warnings, dangers and damage, many teenage boys have sex anyway. They often do so because they believe the lies about sex … Real men protect. They protect girls from the damage that sex will have to them. . . . They don’t let their selfish desires and lust rule the day.”
The authors are colleagues at Presbyterian Day School, a prestigious boys school in Memphis, Tenn. Burns is the headmaster while Brady serves as the chaplain, teacher, adviser and counselor.
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