“If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!!” — Keith Green
I was standing in the dining room of a summer camp when the two guys whose job it was to monitor the morning news and do a morning sports report told me, “a gospel singer was killed in a plane crash.” Not just any gospel singer as it turned out. One of the best.
In February 1965, [at age 12] with forty original songs already written by him, Green and his father Harvey signed a five-year contract with Decca Records, with Harvey as business manager. The first song released on disc was The Way I Used to Be in May 1965 …which he had earlier composed and published before signing on with Decca. Upon publication of this song, Green became the youngest person ever to sign with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
Keith had a Jewish heritage and raised in Christian Science. He grew up reading the New Testament and called the mixture “an odd combination” that left him open minded but deeply unsatisfied. ~ Wikipedia
Keith considered all of the spiritual possibilities out there and wrote them on a list for investigation. He put Christianity at the end of the list because, “it couldn’t possibly be that.” The Wikipedia article sums up his life:
Beyond his music, which shook the Christian world and recording industry, Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same.
I’ll let blogger Dennis Mansfield continue:
The name, Keith Green, may not mean anything to you.
A memorial to him would, therefore seem like a goofy thing to do. “Memorialize WHO?” you might say.
Keith’s life is worthy of a quick read. His death is worthy of a long study…at least the after-effects of his entering into eternity…
…I loved his fierce determinism. He was a no bull man of God. And he would, I am told, COMPLETELY upset evangelical leaders for their fakery. My friend from years ago, Bob Probert, told me of how Keith upset leaders of Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard. Many people across America just DID NOT like Keith.
And he did not seem to care.
That last sentence says more than you think. Keith answered to a different boss.
“I repent of ever having recorded one single song, and ever having performed one concert, if my music, and more importantly, my life has not provoked you into Godly jealousy or to sell out more completely to Jesus!” -Keith Green-
Blogger Melissa Griffin picks up the story,
Keith Green, with his powerful voice, outstanding musical talent, and unquenchable passion for the Lord, inspired countless droves of listeners to give up everything for the unsurpassing joy of knowing Jesus Christ. He followed Jesus for 7 years, released 5 albums in 6 years, and saw thousands come to the Lord through his stirring, yet short-lived ministry. After 28 years of life, Keith unexpectedly departed this world to enter the presence of His Savior. That was 28 years ago.
28 years ago, at age 28, on the 28th day of July.
In a day when believers seem to be trying to please both the world and the Lord (which is an impossible thing), when people are far more concerned about offending their friends than offending God, there is only one answer…Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him!” — Keith Green
Nilson Sousa, Jr. is only twenty-something. Too young to have been around when Keith’s music was sold in Christian bookstores, or later when it wasn’t sold in Christian bookstores because Keith was giving it all away for whatever price listeners could afford. But a twenty-something offers a fresh perspective:
He is one of my heroes, probably the biggest one of 20 century.
Is that possible? To have bones of a dead prophet calling forth a generation of dead Christians? Yes, It is.
I was blessed to be part of the technical crew the day Keith was a guest on Canada’s national daily Christian television show. I pushed the production team hard to just give Keith a block of time and they allowed him to have more than 20 minutes uninterrupted, a rarity for that program. A quick-thinking floor manager held up a sign with the phone number for the show’s counseling center.
The show ended at 11:00 AM; at 3:00 PM calls were still coming in as people responded to Keith’s message about the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, (6:30 Central) there is a free, live web event remembering Keith Green taking place at www.keithgreen.com which I hope you can spread the news about. Find out more at this 3 1/2 minute video invitation.
Either copy and paste the permalink for this article or just copy and paste the above paragraph [or this and the above one] into an e-mail and send it to any and all you think might be open or interested in hearing more about one of the founders of both today’s contemporary Christian music and the subsequent modern worship movement which followed.
YouTube audio links for those of you who missed the Keith Green era include: The worship song, There is a Redeemer; and the more up-tempo You Put This Love In My Heart. Co-written with Randy Stonehill here’s a link for Love Broke Through, popularized by Phil Keaggy.