A book, a life story, a song, has the potential to change your life. When you first pick it up, when you first read the words or first hear the melody, you don’t think that something in such a creative free flowing way can change your life forever. But it can. How many times have you heard a song and it brought you to your knees, or read a book that made you rethink everything you ever thought you knew?
One of my favorite books is, “No Compromise, The Keith Green Story.” I have to be honest; I picked it up because I wanted to know “how.” How did Keith build his ministry, write his songs, and become lauded as one of the greatest Christian Recording Artists of all time? That’s why I picked the book up, that’s what I wanted to know. Up until that moment I had no idea who Keith Green really was, as a matter of fact until this weekend I’d never heard him sing, or preach, and as far as I knew, I didn’t know any Keith Green songs.
I mean that might seem unusual to someone who has been called a walking jukebox, but I got saved years after he died and I listened only to Gospel Music not Contemporary Christian Music for the first five years after I became a Christian. It’s sad that there are no radio stations that really mix the two genres, so I was totally ignorant of Keith’s music. It wasn’t until I moved to Dayton and started to attend a church where I was one of two African Americans that I fell in love with Contemporary Christian Music. It is what has influenced my songwriting the most. Now I’m some crazy musical mix up – as someone once told me my musical style is, “To Black to be White, and to White to be Black.” I like to think of it as, “If Nicole Nordeman and Ce Ce Winans were sisters I’d be the middle child – LOL.”
But anyway… I can’t begin to write about the impact that Keith’s story has had on my life. I didn’t get a “how to” lesson. Instead I got a “why to” lesson. It dawned on me that in my heart is a greater dream for music ministry then I ever knew existed before. It is a dream to write songs that change the atmosphere and change people’s lives. To be so transparent, yet so free in Christ, that people will desire to know Him for themselves. To live in such victory that people can look at my life and say God can do anything and if He did it for you He’ll do it for me. That there is enough money to feed the homeless, house them, care for the orphan, the widow, use music as the evangelistic tool it was meant to be used for.
It’s easy for full time Christian Recording Artists to get swept up in the business of ministry. Seeking promotional opportunities or new outlets to share your music, writing, performing, ministering, it takes a great deal of time. We have to update our multiple social network sites so that our fans can keep up with us, we have to record new music and figure out how to move our ministry to the next level, the bigger venue, how to get the distribution deal, get the radio airplay, get more interviews, get on some major tour, get on TBN and most of us still dream of getting that elusive record deal so we can hear our music on K-Love.
And somewhere in all of this we forget – well let me speak for myself, I forget that there are people dieing and going to hell. People making excuses for living lives that are not pleasing to the Lord because they have not been able to access the power of God from the throne room of Heaven to find victory. There are people forced to make choices that have eternal complications and consequences because we sang the gospel and then had no place for them to go after we packed up our buses and rode out of town to the next stop. Or we live a life that does not mirror what we sing about and then when we are exposed other people are wounded seemingly beyond repair. It makes me ask myself, what dreams am I chasing? The spotlight or the harvest?
Have I been so busy singing that I’ve forgotten to serve? When did music ministry become more about being known and building a brand then about sharing the gospel and feeding the hungry? Why am I supposed to be looked at as a product and not as woman of God called for such a time as this on a mission to lead the lost to Christ? A book like “No Compromise” will make you rethink your entire ministry, the approach, the foundation, the why of it all.
I’m not saying that promoting the ministry God has given me is unimportant. I know God has given me a message and I gotta get it out there. The lost are not going to hear what I need to share if I’m only singing in my shower or sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring – Christ said go into all the earth – so I gotta get up and get out!
I guess I’m more so thinking about the way it’s done and the why it’s done and even the how it’s done. Any man who asks to be released from his contract with Sparrow Records (the biggest label at the time) so that he could GIVE AWAY HIS MUSIC FOR FREE TO ANY AND ALL – had a true heart for the gospel and the lost. You can’t read something like that as a music minister and not be challenged and changed.
The Lord is so funny, right after I closed the book; I put something on my Facebook status about being challenged by the ministry of Keith Green. I scroll down and someone else had just written on their status that they were listening to his music and how he was a prophet for the generations!
To leave that kind of legacy, that more then 25 years after my death people are still being impacted, stirred to bring the gospel to the lost, moving to minister and sharing the love of Christ – that’s the dream I want to chase. That’s the cry of my heart, and that’s what I pledge to do from this moment on. I’m not sure what it will look like, don’t know how my life will change, but I can bet it’ll be anything but dull – I am on a great adventure for Jesus… won’t you come along?
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