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<< iPod Devotionals, with Dave Burchett

Joy to the world, He has risen

  • 2011 Apr 19
  • COMMENTS

What I loved most about Keith Green was his passion for Christ. Like many who came to faith during the Jesus movement Green was sold out to the Gospel. It was a terrible loss when he was tragically killed in a 1982 plane crash.

His zeal for ministry led to a charge that Christian celebrities are rarely accused of committing. NOT profiting from his ministry. Green voided his successful contract with Sparrow Records so that he could give his albums to those who could not afford them.

Keith and wife Melody mortgaged their home to finance his album, So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt, on their own. That album featured a guest appearance by Bob Dylan. The Greens offered the album through mail-order and at concerts for whatever price the purchaser determined they could pay. By May 1982, Green had shipped out more than 200,000 units of his album and 61,000 of those went out for free.

He required that any Christian bookstores carrying his cassettes should include a second cassette free of charge for every one purchased for the buyer to give away to help spread the Gospel. Green's ministry website describes the reaction.

Keith's new album policy were moves that sent shock waves through the Christian music industry, causing, some record labels, bookstores, or other artists to question his motives. Some thought he wanted to undercut the system and make others look bad. But that wasn't his heart at all and in the end it was understood he was just following his convictions.

Keith said, "I only want to build God's Kingdom and see it increase, not my own. If someone writes a great poem no one praises the pencil they used, they praise the one who created the poem. Well, I'm just a pencil in the hands of the Lord. Don't praise me, praise Him!"

How sad that such a sacrificial gesture would be viewed with suspicion.

I think of Keith Green at this time every year. Every Easter week I listen to his recording of the Easter Song.

 

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

He is risen indeed. Keith Green experienced the resurrection power of Christ when he died in 1982. I sometimes wonder how his music might have changed as he matured in his faith. His journey just before his death offers a clue.

After striving for years to measure up to God's holiness, at times even questioning his own salvation, Keith came into a deeper understanding of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross -- both to forgive his sins, and to clothe him in His righteousness. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of his chest.

It wasn't that Keith became less concerned with purity and holiness. But now he was more motivated by love and less by fear in His pursuit of Jesus. He learned so much more about God's grace and the importance of pausing simply to behold His glory and enjoy His presence.

Right there with you brother. Keith Green left an amazing legacy in just twenty-nine years and I believe the Easter Song is one of his most powerful recordings.

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Clarence Hall noted that "you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." That was the message the angel gave to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they came to the tomb.

Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you." The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel's message. (Matthew 28, NLT)

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah

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