Welcome to my blog page! My desire is to post occasional devotionals and updates in an effort to inform and inspire believers in their growth in Christ and to encourage revival in the church. Comments are welcome (Our website reserve the right to review, edit, or withhold inappropriate comments).  Enjoy!  Pastor Keith Hassell
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Love One Another

John 13:34–35 (NKJV) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
 
The one commandment that Jesus gave to us is the commandment to love. Who are we to love? We are to love one another. How are we to love one another? We are to love as Christ has loved us. How has Christ loved us? He lived to serve us and died to save us. Why are we to love one another? It is so that others will know that we are His disciples. They will not know that we are His disciples by the profession of our love for God. Many claim to love God but do not love others. They will not know that we are His disciples by our profession to love one another. They will know that we are His disciples because they see how we love one another. They will see the love of Jesus in us! Those who love have seen God and know God, for God is love. Therefore, love is the most important virtue of our Christian life. Love is the King of all virtues. Without love, nothing else matters. The buildings we worship in will one day be gone. The ministry tools we use will one day be outdated or perish. The ministry positions we hold will one day be retired. Our petty preferential differences will be our shame. The only thing that will matter when this life is over is the relationship we have with God and with one another. The most important thing that we have in this life are not things but our spiritual family. We are part of God’s forever family. Therefore, let us love one another as Christ has loved us. Remember, it is Christ’s command.                                                   We love you!  Pastor Keith & Sheila

 

What is Your ONE Desire?

Psalm 27:4 (NKJV) “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”
 
Everyone is in pursuit of something. Everyone has one supreme desire that guides the direction of their life. God has wired us so that our heart can only be set on one desire at a time. Jesus said that no man can serve two masters because he will either love one and hate the other or be loyal to one and not the other. (Matthew 6:24) This being the case, what is your ONE desire? What is the ONE thing that defines the course of your life? King David had everything he could want and yet his ONE desire was to be in God’s presence. More than anything else he wanted to dwell in the house of the LORD and to seek His face. That is why God said that David was a man after his own heart. When we give our whole heart to God then we are able to receive His whole heart in return. He does not want us to seek His hand but to seek His face. We cannot give God our whole heart when everything is about us. We cannot give God our whole heart if we are seeking revenge or holding on to a grudge. God wants us to seek Him without distraction or pre-occupation with other things. He made us for fellowship with Him. We will never outgrow our need for Him. We will never be satisfied without Him. Satan will do everything he can to steal our heart away from God. Don’t let him! Become a God Seeker! Put Him first place. As we seek God first, He will add to us everything else we need. In addition, He will fill our lives with joy and fulfillment regardless of the circumstances we may face at any given moment. May we, like David, make the LORD our ONE desire!                                      

You are Part of God's Team!

Ephesians 4:11–12 (NKJV) “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”

Many have the mistaken idea that churches pay pastors to do the work of the ministry. Pastors are the “professionals” and members are the fans who sit in the grand stands to cheer them on. Nothing could be further from the truth! When Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to the church. They were given to equip the church (the members) for the work of the ministry so that the body of Christ would be edified (built up). Why aren’t local churches accomplishing more? It is because we depend on the “professionals” to do the work. As a result, pastors burn out while members rust out. This is not God’s plan! His plan is that each member contribute something to build up the church so that it can accomplish Christ’s work in the earth. He has a plan for YOU! Have you discovered God’s plan? The pastor’s job is to equip the members of the church to do the work of the ministry. The pastor’s role might be compared to a football coach. The church is the team and every member has their role on the field. When each one is trained, equipped, and works in cooperation with others under the direction of the coach, the team can move the ball down the field. There are no fans on God’s team! We are all called to minister on the field. It is time to get out of the grand stands, show up for training, and then get out on the field. The church has a job to do for Jesus and we all have our part to play. See you at practice!

Restoring Altars: How is Your Prayer Life?

Ezra 3:1–2 (NKJV) “And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.”
 
How is your prayer life? Has the altar of prayer been neglected or even missing in your life? Judah had been conquered by the Babylonians and the temple destroyed but seventy years later the LORD commissioned Zerubabel to return to rebuild the temple. The first thing he did was rebuild the altar. Restoring the altar is the first step in restoring everything else the enemy has destroyed. Altars are sacred places where men meet God. In calling the people of Israel back to God, Elijah restored the altar of the LORD. There God answered by fire and a revival took place in Israel. We can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the evil that surrounds us. Positive change can seem impossible when we believe that it depends upon us. However, altars remind us that everything depends upon God. God can turn an impossible situation around if we will spend time at the altar of prayer. At the altar we behold the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross and make petitions through faith in God’s promises. Let us face our need with prayer. We have great challenges but God is greater than the challenges we face. Prayer is the key to revival. Prayer is the key to breakthrough. Prayer is the key to the miraculous for we call upon the God of miracles. Let us restore and revisit the altar of prayer. Let us trust in God who can turn things around.

Getting Things in Order

Isaiah 9:7 (NKJV) “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
 
This verse speaks of Jesus. Jesus is a King and He has a kingdom. When we are born again, we enter His kingdom. While on earth we are called to be a member of one of His kingdom embassies called the local church. Together we have received a commission to go into all the world to preach the gospel and to make disciples. We are called to represent our King and His kingdom throughout the world. We cannot do this is if our churches are weak. Jesus said He will order and establish His kingdom. Even now Jesus is working to bring things in order on the inside so that we will be able to carry out His work on the outside. Jesus is working to establish His kingdom within the church so that it will accurately portray His kingdom to the lost world around us. Each of us has a calling, a gift, and a purpose that will help make the church strong. Jesus is zealous to accomplish His work in and through His church. He will use those who are willing and obedient. Those who are will eat the good of the land. (Isaiah 1:19) The doors of opportunity to reach beyond our walls are opening. Will we be ready? Will we rise to meet the challenge? It will take faith and courage to step up and to step out, but through faith we can seize the opportunities before us. An opportunity must be seized in the time of the opportunity or else the opportunity will be lost. Don’t miss God’s opportunity. Be among the willing and obedient. The good of the land awaits those who will.
 

Christ's Command to Love

1 John 3:23 (NKJV) “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”
 
Hebrews 10:24–25 (NKJV) “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
 
We are commanded to love. We are to consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. Love is not only a noun—it is an action word. Love is as love does. When we show love in tangible ways, we help stir up love in others. We will not show love if we only consider ourselves. Showing love is often inconvenient and costly, but that is when love shines brightest. Jesus said that the world will know that we are His disciples by seeing our love for one another. Love reveals who belongs to Jesus. Love will enable us to reach those who are hardened or who have built up walls. Jesus showed us what love looks like. We see it in His everyday ministry to hurting people. He loved His Father first, but His love for the Father led Him to show love to those whom the Father loved. Let us obey Jesus’ command to love one another. Let us overcome selfishness and self-centeredness in order to stir up love in one another. Let us look for ways to serve one another. Our relationships are only as strong as the love we show. Let us grow in love and stir up one another in love. People are waiting to see that God’s love is real.

Everyone Doing Their Part

1 Corinthians 10:24 (NKJV) “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
 
God is on the move! People are being drawn to the Lord. The church is growing. When this happens, it requires those of us who have been sitting at the table being fed to get up and serve the new ones coming in. Spiritual maturity is evidenced by selflessness; by seeking what others need rather than what we want. One of the great needs at the moment is children’s workers. Since we began Grace Kids Church on Sunday mornings and Grace Kids Connection on Wednesday evenings, we have more parents and children coming. That is a good thing! It is an answer to prayer! However, with that comes a responsibility to minister to them. We either minister to them or lose them. We are thankful for the many volunteers who have served faithfully and sacrificially. However, many are serving more than they should while others are serving little or not at all. Members with children are required to help. Many workers who no longer have children continue to serve because of the need. How can you help? We ask that our church members prayerfully consider volunteering one or more times a month in one of our nurseries on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday nights. The more workers we have the less each has to serve. We also need to split up the overcrowed classes on Wednesdays. This too requires more teachers and helpers. The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Therefore, I pray that the Lord of the harvest will thrust out laborers from His table into His field! God is on the move! It is time to mature in love and serve. Let us rise and sieze this opportunity to reach new families! If everyone will do their part, the need will be met. Thank you ahead of time for your help!                   

He Has Put Eternity in Our Hearts

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV) “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
 
Are you living your life in light of eternity? Often our lives are so distracted with the temporal that we do not live for the eternal. When you get to the end of your life, will the things you are living for really matter? Will they matter to God? Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”. Looking back over my life I can see how I wasted time pursuing things, even good things, that had no eternal meaning and value. Are you wasting your life on temporal things at the expense of doing God’s will? Is your time being controlled by the tyranny of the temporal? Many people say they want to serve the Lord but they are just too busy. They say that they will serve the Lord when things slow down. Things never slow down unless God slows them down. I have performed many funerals and the haunting thing in the back of my mind is, “Did they do the will of God in their lifetime?” or “Will they hear Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ or ‘Depart from me, you worker of iniquity. You called me Lord, but you refused to obey Me.’”? God has put eternity in our hearts. Eternity beckons us to live for eternity. You and I have no time to waste. God does not give us enough time to do everything. He only gives us enough time to do His will. The Scripture says, “He who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17) This life is but for a moment and that moment will soon be gone. Eternity is forever. The only thing that will matter when this life ends is “Did I do the will of God?” Knowing this, let us live in light of eternity!                                   

Living in the Light of Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV) “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
 
Are you living your life in light of eternity? Often our lives are so distracted with the temporal that we do not live for the eternal. When you get to the end of your life, will the things you are living for really matter? Will they matter to God? Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?”. Looking back over my life I can see how I wasted time pursuing things, even good things, that had no eternal meaning and value. Are you wasting your life on temporal things at the expense of doing God’s will? Is your time being controlled by the tyranny of the temporal? Many people say they want to serve the Lord but they are just too busy. They say that they will serve the Lord when things slow down. Things never slow down unless God slows them down. I have performed many funerals and the haunting thing in the back of my mind is, “Did they do the will of God in their lifetime?” or “Will they hear Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ or ‘Depart from me, you worker of iniquity. You called me Lord, but you refused to obey Me.’”? God has put eternity in our hearts. Eternity beckons us to live for eternity. You and I have no time to waste. God does not give us enough time to do everything. He only gives us enough time to do His will. The Scripture says, “He who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17) This life is but for a moment and that moment will soon be gone. Eternity is forever. The only thing that will matter when this life ends is “Did I do the will of God?” Knowing this, let us live in light of eternity!                                   

Dry Bones Hear the Word of the LORD

Ezekiel 37:3–5 (NKJV) “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ So I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know.’ 4 Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.’ ” ’ ”
 
As we look across the valley of East Texas and across the landscape of America, we see the dry bones of a Church that was once alive and thriving, a Church that thundered God’s truth from its pulpits and laid the foundation of God’s word in the homes, businesses, schools, and government of our land. Where is that Church today? Many have given up on the Church. We are like this valley of dry bones. It seems there is no hope and that all is lost. But I am hearing the Lord say to me, “Prophesy to these dry bones!” What must be prophesied? “O dry bones, HEAR the word of the LORD!” The people’s ears have grown dull of hearing. They hear with the ears on their head but not with the ears of their heart. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let Him hear!” We must begin to target the hearing of God’s people in our prayers and in our prophetic declarations. It is time to prophesy HOPE to a hopeless generation: “Surely I will cause BREATH (Spirit) to enter into you, and you shall LIVE!” It is time to HEAR! It is time to BELIEVE! It is time to PRAY! It is time to PROPHESY! It is time to EXPECT! It is time to RISE! God is on the move. The ARMY of GOD is about to arise!  May we rise up and follow Jesus, our Lord of hosts!                      
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