“If somebody writes a great poem people don’t run around applauding the pencil, saying ‘Oh, what a great pencil’…I’m a pencil in God’s hands.”  

– Keith Green


Introduction

Dear reader, before you start to read this article I want to highlight a few points. This article doesn’t set out to place any man’s name on a pedestal. We could give countless negatives examples of singers, or even Pastors that are not examples at their service to God, however, we prefer to show only a strong and positive example. To demonstrate that our goal is not to exalt a man, we chose a saint that was taken by the Lord and isn’t so famous, his name is Keith Green. At this point, dear reader, you might be asking, “Who is this?” Well, in this article we’ll approach his life and his positive testimony and you’ll get to know a little about his story.

Keith Green’s Story

Keith Green began his musical career at age 3. At five, he started to learn how to play an electric guitar. When he was 12 years old, was already considered a promising musician with a brilliant career ahead of him, being tapped to be the next teen star. He was raised Jewish and when He turned His 20, Keith Green surrendered to the gospel and started following Jesus. At that time, Green had nothing to do with music anymore, he had stopped playing.

On the next year, together with His wife, started evangelizing in the outskirts of Los Angeles, California. Expanding the reach of the Gospel was second nature to them and transformed their own house into an environment to care for the needy. The needy didn’t only receive physical care as also spiritual care. In that environment, those they took in were led to receive the gospel and to believe that Jesus came to save each one and every one. Many turned to the Lord and were baptized. That happened in such a way that Keith Green had to rent new houses, each time bigger, to bear the number of people who He and His wife took care of.

In 1976, Keith began His career as a gospel singer and stopped singing the worldly songs he’d made a short career from. He featured a few CD’s and did one solo CD. At 1979, something happened that made his ministry different from most other Christian music ministries: he ended his contract with the record label and, led by the Spirit, felt that He shouldn’t charge for His CD’s or shows anymore. Then, He mortgaged his house and created a new way to expand the Lord’s work. Anyone could have his CD’s, for they were free of charge. Yes, free of charge! Only who wanted to would pay for the CD and just the amount that they were willing to. The CD’s were sent by mail without any cost to the receiver if they asked so.

The vision that Green had was that the word of God should be accessible to everyone and reach out  as many people as possible. That is why he gave up of all profit of his CD’s and shows and began to be held by offerings. From them on his ministry bore many fruits. In 1982, 200 thousand copies were already distributed, 65 thousand being free of charge. Later on, all Christian material that Keith green had produced was available for free. Afterwards, a campaign came up being: whoever acquired a CD, even it being for free,  would get another one to give to a friend. That helped the gospel’s spreading in an intense way.

Dear reader, we want to emphasize a very important point. The Lord gives to each saint a means or a way to preach the gospel. Nowadays there are many saints, pastors and publishing houses don’t objective to making a profit from the gospel. In the current world everything has a cost and it is not always that there is enough offerings to cover the costs. Thus being, I ask you, dear reader, don’t judge other saints, understand that it isn’t wrong to charge something for a Christian CD or a book, but taking advantage of this sale to get rich, doesn’t please God.

Keith Green didn’t see himself as an “artist” by profession, and demonstrated a detachment from material riches which is a rare quality to find. He did not seclude himself from his fans, instead he would roll up our sleeves, go out of the spotlight and seek proximity with his audience.

A plan crash killed Keith Green in 1982, yet his life’s example, not by mere words but also with his attitudes, show us the life of a true servant of the Lord.

Matthew 6:19-21   “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We must attempt to follow the Lord, considering, like Paul, all things as despicable, aiming only Christ and the Kingdom. In this aspect, we can see at Keith’s person an example similar to Paul’s.

Philippians 3:8      “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”

Keith Green’s songs

For the young people who were curious to hear songs of this servant of our Lord Jesus, here are two that represent well the experience of this singer with the Lord. The first song called “Make my Life a Prayer to You” and the second called “Your Love Broke Through”.

I would like to make a request. In addition to having beautiful melodies, this song’s lyrics are very strong and deep. Focus on them, not just the melody. These songs talk about very deep experiences with the Lord.

Song 1 – Make my Life a Prayer to You

Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise
I wanna shine the light you gave
Through your son you sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know you’re really there[Chorus]Well I wanna thank you know
For being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust
And just believe what you say
Oh you’re coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

I wanna tell the world out there
You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I’ve made up inside my head
You’re God the son and you’ve risen from the dead

[Chorus]

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

Songwriters: Green, Melody
Make My Life A Prayer To You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Song 2 –  Your Love Broke Through

Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down
And I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds

That hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I’ve been blind all these wasted years
And I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through

All my life I’ve been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch, you just rolled away
The stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy

As just asking you in
And I am so sure I could never doubt
Your gentle touch again
It’s like the power of the wind

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love, your love broke through

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
Until your love broke through

Songwriters
GREEN, KEITH GORDON/FISHKIND, TODD/STONEHILL, RANDY

Published by
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing


Article based on the documentary

“Your Love Broke Through: The Keih Green Story”

If you are interested in watching

the documentary, click here.


Translation of the article Keith Green, verdadeiro exemplo de um cantor servo de Deus  (Blog Eu vos escrevi)

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