All of us can look back through the pages of our life and see that there were many people who contributed in different ways to help shape us into the man or woman that we have become. But certain ones always stand out in our memories. My parents, of course, had a tremendous influence on me, but also a handful of favorite teachers, a few special friends, and some godly professors in seminary who helped to mold my character.
But there was also a young man that influenced me more than I knew at the time. Keith Green was a Christian musician who cut a wide swath. I think that during his short seven years of ministry, before his tragic death in a plane crash on Wednesday, July 28, 1982 when he was only 28 years old, he may have influenced more young people than any other Christian artist of that era. His songs were powerful and probing and passionate. His intense love for Christ and his frustration with the lukewarm cultural Christianity of America touched the lives of millions.
I'll never forget the sadness that filled my heart when I heard of his death. We had just come back home from Brazil on our first furlough and were living in SE Portland. Keith was scheduled for a concert here in Portland at the Rose Garden that following Saturday, the 31st. As you can imagine, Portland was hardhit with the news of his death. The Second Chapter of Acts and Barry McGuire came in his place, but there were a lot of tears in that arena that night. That concert ended with hundreds of young people dedicating their lives to serve Christ, and was just the first of a whole string of memorial concerts across the country resulting in thousands saved and many going into full-time ministry.
I still love to listen to Keith's music and those old songs still move me. YouTube is loaded with junk but it also has some great stuff. Here is a video of him singing on the 700 Club his song, "I Can't Wait to Get to Heaven." It will make you lonely for Heaven too.
If you would like to learn more about Keith Green's life and hear more of his music check out YouTube. Just type his name into the search box. One of the things you'll discover is a seven part documentary about his life and ministry called "The Keith Green Story." Here is a link to the first part.
I just hope that when it comes time for the Lord to call me home I will leave even a fraction of the positive legacy that Keith left. His light burned brightly with a pure flame that lit up the path so that many others could find their way to the Father's house.
Still crazy about Keith Green,