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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The Danger of Drifting

Hebrews 2:1–4 (NKJV) “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”
 
No one ever “plans” to drift away from the Lord. No one wakes up one morning and says, “I think I will backslide” or “I plan to stop seeking after God” or “I think I will stop going to church”. No. The devil is smarter than that. He works on us one “little compromise” at a time justified by one “little excuse” at a time. The devil whispers, “You're tired today” or “You need a break” or “You need family time” or “You’re going through a lot right now” or “You deserve to do something for yourself” or “One time won’t really hurt.” This is the pattern of drifting away from God. It is like drifting in a boat. When you get distracted, you don’t realize how far you have drifted until you look up and realize you have lost sight of the bank or where you were before. Have you “drifted” away from your former steadfastness to Jesus? The writer of Hebrews warns against the dangers of drifting. When your desire for other things outweighs your desire for the things of God and when you make more excuses than commitments, that is a clear sign that you are in spiritual danger. You are drifting into the devil’s swampy bayou. It is time to look up and realize that you have drifted. It is time to ask God to help you regain your vision and hunger for Christ.          
 
 
 

Discipleship Base Path

Matthew 28:19–20 (NKJV) “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
 
Jesus commanded His church to go and make disciples. Unfortunately, we often are satisfied with simply winning converts. In reality, Jesus wants faithful and equipped followers who will, in turn, reach and disciple others. Do you want to be a faithful and equipped follower of Jesus but need help? I have good news! On Friday evening and throughout the day on Saturday, January 29-30, we will hold an Encounter Seminar at the church. This seminar is designed to help you overcome past and present issues, struggles, and bondages that hinder you from moving forward in your walk with Christ. Then, on the first Sunday evening in February, we will begin our revised Discipleship Base Path. The courses along this path are set up like the four bases on a baseball field. We ask that you sign up on the list in the church sanctuary or by calling the church so we can have materials available. Get started by signing up for Christianity 101. This class will help establish you in the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. If you have been through Christianity 101 or Christian Foundations in the past, then sign up for Discipleship 201. This class will help establish core disciplines in your walk as a disciple. Each of these Sunday evening classes will last for twelve weeks. Later we will introduce Leadership 301 and Ministry 401. This is an exciting pathway for spiritual growth and development that will help us better reach our community, region, and the world!      
 
 

Why Sit Here Until We Die?

2 Kings 7:3–4 (NKJV) “Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, ‘Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, “We will enter the city,” the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.”
 
Sometimes circumstances are so bleak that it seems we are doomed. Such was the case with four leprous men outside the city of Samaria. Samaria was barricaded by the Syrian army. The people inside the city were starving. These lepers were dying. Leprosy was a slow and grievous death. They were starving. If they went into the city, they would die. There was no food. If they did nothing, they would die. They agreed that the only hopeful option was to surrender to the Syrians. Either the Syrians would take them as prisoners and feed them, or else they would execute them and they would die. They determined it was better to surrender to the Syrians than to do nothing and die. When they arrived at the camp, they found that the Syrians had fled, having “heard” the sound of an approaching army. It was a miracle! Not only did they find food to eat but there was enough food for the entire city of Samaria. In a similar way, it may seem that we are doomed and that there are no good options. We may be tempted to give up and die. However, with God there is always one good option. That is to take a risk, step out in faith, and leave the miracle to God. Regardless of what we are facing today, let’s not give in to discouragement and do nothing. Why sit here until we die? It is time to get up and do something in faith and trust God for a miracle!

A Revival Remnant

Romans 11:4-5 (NKJV)  “But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

On Sunday, December 6th, Grace Fellowship will celebrate 35 years as a church. Our first service was held on Sunday, December 1, 1985. Grace Fellowship was birthed with a vision for revival. We were not called to be like other churches. We are not called to conform to the status quo. We are not called to build a “nice little church”. We are called to be a revival remnant who can influence revival in other places. We are called to be a catalyst for revival. One of our founding verses is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Therefore, we are called to be a humble people who will pray. We are called to seek God. We are called to turn from our wicked ways, to be a holy people unto the Lord. We are called to hold up the righteous standard of God’s word and to call people to repent of anything short of that standard. We are called to participate with other believers and churches who share in a passion for “holy revival”. We are not a perfect church and never will be. We are not more loved by God than any other church. We have simply been called with a special task. If you are a part of Grace Fellowship, you know that you will not be able to “relax” for very long. You will be confronted by the Spirit and the Word. You will be challenged to get out of your comfort zone. You will be compelled to be a world changer beginning right where you are. We celebrate 35 years, but we are not looking back. The future is ahead of us and the best is yet to come!  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! 

 

The Lord Knows Those Who Are His

2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV) “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’”
 
Do you belong to God? In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30), a man planted wheat in his field, but then an enemy planted tares among the wheat. In their infancy the wheat and tares are hard to distinguish. The owner decided to let the two grow together until the harvest. At the time of harvest, the two could be distinguished. First he gathered the tares followed by the wheat. Many profess Christ but not all belong to Christ. The tares are false converts. They imagine themselves to be saved because they are surrounded by true believers. Their great delusion will be evidenced by a great apostasy. The adage is true: “I may fool you and you may fool me, but no one fools God.” The Lord knows those who are His. How is the wheat distinguished from the tares? By their fruit. The wheat develops a head of grain that causes it to bend over. The tare bears no fruit and stands straight up. The wheat represents those who are fruitful and humble toward God. The tares represent those who are fruitless and proud. False converts tolerate sin in their lives while genuine converts depart from iniquity. A holy and humble life is clear evidence that they belong to God. Those who live for themselves bear no fruit for God, and yet, insist they are saved. They are self-deceived. Granted, you and I don’t know who belongs to God, but He does. However, if we do claim to belong to Him, let us bear the fruit of a holy and humble life which testifies that our profession is real.            

If the Foundations Are Destroyed

Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
 
Do you plan to vote? If so, are you registered? How will you vote? This year’s election is not about allegiance to a political party. It is about whether or not the foundations upon which this nation was founded will remain. Our Founding Fathers established this nation upon biblical foundations so that true righteousness, justice, and truth would prevail. The truth found in God’s Word is the foundation upon which of our liberties are established. When biblical foundations are removed, the standard is removed by which to discern every other issue. Without a biblical GPS, people become lost and disoriented about issues of right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice, gender, race, politics, religion, sex, marriage, family, education, money, government, law enforcement, etc. Lawlessness is exalted in its place. Good is called evil and evil is called good, light is called darkness and darkness is called light, and bitter is called sweet and sweet is called bitter. (Isaiah 5:20) Lies, hypocrisy, corruption, and double-standards are normalized, thus destroying the foundations of trust. Grievance, anger, and bitterness reach a boiling point. Vengeance, retribution, violence, and war result. When the foundations are destroyed, the righteous have no defense against the wicked. (Psalm 12:8; 82:5; 87:1; 119:152) I want to encourage you to register to vote and then to vote biblical values. If the righteous do not vote to uphold biblical values, then we let the ungodly remove the foundations of our liberty. We must take a stand now lest there be nothing left to stand upon. We may never have another chance.  We love you!  Pastor Keith & Sheila
 

Jesus is STILL the Answer!

Matthew 11:28–29 (NKJV) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
 
In the midst of the confusion, desperation, evil, and turmoil of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, God began to move in a lost youth and yount adult generation. As unlikely as it might have seemed, out of the chaos created by Marxist ideology, drugs, alcohol, sexual freedom, rebellion, riots, and violence, people began to hunger for God. In 1973, Black Gospel Artists Andrae and Sandra Crouch introduced a song that resonated with the hearts of young people across America. That song was “Jesus is the Answer”. In some ways, it became a theme song in the Jesus Movement which reached many young people for Jesus. Interestingly, things have come full circle. This Millennial Generation is at a similar place today. Although we might be inclined to believe there is no hope, the good news is that all sin and rebellion eventually leads to disillusionment, emptiness, and despair. People then begin to long for true hope, answers, and meaning to life. If we pray, seek the Lord, and reach out in love to this broken generation, God can move like He did before. Jesus was the answer for a former generation and He is STILL the answer for this current generation. Time is running out, but there is still hope. Let us not give in to despair. Let us rise up and fight for our families, for our churches, for this generation, and for our nation. If God intervenes by His mercy, we will see the news cycle change from “riots” to “revival”. Now that is a news cycle worth praying for!

You've Gotta Serve Somebody

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
 
Who are you serving? No one? Think again! We are all created by God to serve somebody. We cannot serve two masters. In 1979 Bob Dylan released a song entitled, “Gotta Serve Someboy” on his album “Slow Train Coming”. The repeating chorus says: “You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you're gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody”. You might say, “Well, I may not be serving the Lord, but I am sure not serving the devil!” The Bible identifies the devil as the god of this age. The devil offers this world and everything in it as a substitute for God. The devil offers money, wealth, success, fame, fortune, land, houses, free time, hobbies, entertainment, music, sex, drugs, alcohol, pleasure, and a host of other things to keep us from loving and serving God. By serving these things, we serve the devil who uses them to steal away our love and service toward God. God has blessed us with things that people living in other places of the world cannot imagine. God promised to bless His people Israel when they came out of Egypt, but He warned them not to forget Him once He blessed them. If they did, they would surely perish. God will have no other gods before Him. Don’t make the tragic mistake of allowing the blessings of God to steal away your love and commitment to the God of the blessings! Serve God alone and use the blessings that He gives to bring glory to Him!

No More Fire Alarms

Joshua 24:15 (NKJV) “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
 
Recently I was in a discussion with a few pastors. During the COVID-19 isolation so many in the churches talked about how much they missed being in the church gatherings. They couldn’t wait to get back. Even those who didn’t go to church regularly talked of their need to get back in church. It sounded like revival. Bewilderment set in as churches began to open up. Where were these enthusiastic people? The faithful were there, but what about the others? I am not surprised. You see I have seen this time and time again. God sets off the fire alarm and His people wake up in a crisis. Then when the crisis seems to be over, they go back to their regular routine. When entering the Promise Land, Israel had to make a choice. Would the LORD be their God, or would they serve the gods of the people around them. Joshua called them to choose. Serving God is not a feeling. It is a choice. Joshua said he had made his choice—as for him and his house, they would serve the LORD. You and I will never be committed to God if we base our lives on feelings. When we feel afraid or feel inspired, we run to God. When we feel secure or unmotivated, we don’t live for God. Stop basing your relationship with God on circumstances and feelings. Don’t live a “fire alarm” Christianity. Be like Joshua. Make a decision that you and your family will serve the LORD in the good times as well as in the tough times. Then it will not matter what comes. You are committed. I want to challenge you to make your choice. Your family and your future depend upon it.

Re-Opening

FROM THE PASTOR

Psalm 24:7 (NKJV) “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”
 
On Mother’s Day, May 10th, our church opened with public morning services with social distancing for the first time since March 15th. We had a very good turnout on that day and everyone who attended seemed glad to be back. The Sunday morning service will continue through the month of May. Prior to opening, I had been on Zoom calls with other pastors to hear from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. At that time they affirmed that the requirements for other businesses, schools, etc. are not required for churches. They simply asked churches to do what they think is best to both meet and keep everyone safe in light of CDC Guidelines. Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott approved the next phase in regard to opening child care facilities, camps, etc., all by the end of May. After consideration, the Elders have decided that, provided that there are no setbacks, beginning in June, the church will resume regular meetings for Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. This includes re-opening nurseries and children’s church. The first Sunday night will be Family Food, Fun, and Fellowship outdoors (weather permitting) with the church providing the hotdog meal. If you are sick or have symptoms—or if your children do—then please stay home and enjoy the service by live stream. Please maintain as much social distancing and contact as possible in the beginning. Remember to cover any inadvertent cough or sneeze and practice handwashing and sanitizing. If everyone works together, we can make this re-opening successful for us all. Please continue to pray for a smooth and safe transition. 

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