“No empty words, and no white lies. No token prayers, no compromise.”
– Keith Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982)
Over the last few weeks, I have been taking time to do some things for my personal growth. I have been listening to the music of Keith Green. There has not been a time where I have not been challenged and encouraged in my spiritual walk as a result of listening to his music. I do not know of another singer / minister that has had a greater influence on me as a believer. His music transcends time and although most of it was written and recorded over 30 years ago it is still as relevent as ever. This week will mark the 28th anniversary of his death.
Keith Green (October 21, 1953) was a Contemporary Christian Music artist originally from Sheepshead Bay, New York. He had a Jewish background, but he grew up reading the New Testament. He called it “an odd combination” that left him open minded but deeply unsatisfied. His journey in life led him to drugs, South Asian mysticism, and “free love.” After experiencing what he described as a “bad trip,” he abandoned drug use and became bitter towards philosophy and theology in general. He would later state, however, that in the midst of all his skepticism, he felt that God “broke through [his] calloused heart,” and he became a born-again Christian.
More than the music, his message inspired me to commit my life to follow Christ. Apart from my relationship with the Lord, I am not sure there has been a greater influence that challenged me to live for Christ.
Keith Green died on July 28, 1982, when the Cessna 414 leased by Last Days Ministries crashed after takeoff from the private airstrip on his property. The small two-engine plane was carrying eleven passengers and the pilot, Don Burmeister, for an aerial tour of the property and the surrounding area. Green and two of his children, three year old Josiah, and two year old Bethany, were on board the plane, along with visiting missionaries John and Dede Smalley and their six children. All aboard the seven-seat aircraft were killed.
I struggle, even after all these years, trying to figure out why a pilot would allow 12 people aboard a plane designed for 7. I also struggle in trying to understand why God would take a man that had such a great ministry and influence on so many people. These will be some of the questions that I would like to ask when I get to heaven.
Just before he died, I had the opportunity to see him in concert…concert is a strong word because it was more like a revival service. I think he preached more than he sang. It was great. The challenge he gave to all of us back then is the same as today…”don’t fall asleep in the light of God’s directiont” …make sure you fulfill what God has asked you to be for Him…and that is a witness.
I remember him saying, “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 committing your heart more completely to Jesus!”
Indeed his music and ministry did just that.
If you open your mind and heart to Keith’s message…maybe…just maybe…God’s Love will break through to your heart as well. I hope you catch that message as you research his life…
May this be the day that you let God’s love break through to your heart.