Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Compromise

I just finished reading chapter four in the new updated & expanded edition of the book about Keith Green. Even though this is my fourth reading of this book, all I can say is "WHEW!"

What an intense person Keith was. His passion for searching for the truth was intense. He kept plowing through all of the mystical, religious garbage of the world, never satisfied, always searching for the truth...until he found it in Jesus. He doesn't find Jesus in chapter four, that happens in the next chapter, but the intensity of his search has just about reached it's peak in this chapter.

Where others would settle, Keith would continue to dig. Where others would be satisfied, Keith would be uncomfortable. Where others would be complacent, Keith would be fired up. When others would look at themselves, satisfied with what they saw, Keith always wanted more.

This intensity spilled over into his life as a believer also. He had searched for so long to find the truth that he was overjoyed when he found it. His first album relfects that newfound joy....and even that in a more intense way than it is for many of us.

By the time the second album came around, he had witnessed many who claimed the name of Christ, but did not walk the way of Christ. For someone who had seached high and low, under every spiritual rock he came in contact with, this was something that was baffling to Keith. How could people treat the truth, the one who gave His life for them in such a casual, flippant way. The songs on his second album relfected his boldness in calling Christians to live like Christians.

The album was called "No Compromise"

The album was a wake up call to the church, starting with the cover and straight on thru to the lyrics. It's hard to imagine any of these songs being played on christian "feel-good" raido these days.

Here's a sample of some of the lyrics from that album:


"Do you see? Do you see?
All the people sinking down?
Don't you care? Don't you care?
Are you gonna let them drown?

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes,
and pretend the job is done

"Oh, bless me, Lord! Bless me, Lord!"
You know, it's all I ever hear!
No one aches, no one hurts,
no one even sheds one tear
But, He cries, He weeps, He bleeds,
and He cares for your needs
And you just lay back,
and keep soaking it in

Oh, can't you see such sin?!
'Cause He brings people to your door,
and you turn them away
as you smile and say:
"God bless you! Be at peace!"
And all Heaven just weep,
'cause Jesus came to your door,
you left Him out on the streets

Open up! Open up!
And give yourself away
You see the need,
you hear the cries,
so how can you delay?!
God is calling,
and you are the one
But like Jonah, you run
He told you to speak,
but you keep holding it in

Oh, can't you see such sin?!
The world is sleeping in the dark,
that the church just can't fight,
'cause it's asleep in the light!
How can you be so dead?!
When you've been so well famed
Jesus rose from the grave,
And you!
You can't even get out of bed!
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead!
Come on, get out of your bed!

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes,
And pretend the job is done!
You close your eyes,
and pretend the job is done!
Don't close your eyes,
don't pretend the job is done

Come away! Come away!
Come away with Me, mMy love!
Come away from this mess,
Come away with Me, My love!
Come away from this mess!
Come away with Me, My love!
Come away,
Come away with Me My love!"


"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, Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair, It comforts me to know You're really there

Well I wann 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


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"


"My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

But what can be done
For an old heart like mine
Soften it up
With oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew
With the wine of Your Blood"


"To obey is better than sacrifice
I don't need your money
I want your life
And I hear you say that I'm coming back soon
But you act like I'll never return

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet
How you thrive on milk, but reject My meat
And I can't help weeping of how it will be
If you keep on ignoring My words
Well you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can't feed

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights
Cause if you can't come to Me every day
Then don't bother coming at all
La,la,la etc.

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want hearts of fire
Not your prayers of ice
And I'm coming quickly
To give back to you
According to what you have done
According to what you have done
According to what you have done"

Can you feel the intensity in the lyrics there?

I heard someone call Keith a "whack-job nut" because of the lyric in the song "To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice" where Keith sings (speaking for God), "Cause if you can't come to me every day, then don't bother coming at all." I realize this is a very bold statement and it makes people squirm. Would God really say something like this? I don't know, but I feel Keith was trying to make a point, just as Jesus was trying to make a point when he told us to cut off our hands or pluck our eyes out if they cause us to sin. Jesus was trying to tell us to deal with sin in a radical way in our life...not to literally maim ourselves. In the same way I feel that Keith was trying to shake us out of our complacency into a radical commitment to follow Jesus.

Let's be honest with ourselves. How many people do we come into contact with, day in and day out, who are on their way to hell, and we say NOTHING! I know I am guilty of this very thing.

How many hours do we spend watching tv, listening to the radio, reading books, blogging, etc, compared to how much time we spend with the Almighty, Jehovah, Elohim, El Shaddai, God!

I pray for the intensity that Keith had in my own walk with the Lord. I pray that I will no longer be lethargic, anemic, complacent and satisfied with where I am in my relationship with Jesus. While I know that the work of my salvation was completed on calvary, and sealed at the resurrection, I also know that work that my Savior has called me to do will not be completed until that day when He calls me home.

Let us be satisfied with our salvation, but intense in our relationship with the Lord. May we one day read about what Keith did and find it "no big deal", because it has become the norm for those who claim to follow Christ.

Ok, now I'm off to read chapter five. Tomorrow, I'll post some about the third album that Keith made.

Pastor Dave

Saturday, November 29, 2008

For Him Who Has Ears To Hear

I love to read. I have a ton of books that I have read, and many that I have bought, but don't read. Unlike my wife, who reads books over and over again, there are only three books that I have read more than once. They are "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn (read three times), "In The Footsteps Of Jesus" by Bruce Marchiano (read three times), and the book I am currently reading, "No Compromise: The Life Story Of Keith Green" (currently on my fourth time reading, but this one is the new "Legacy Edition-Updaed and Expanded").
Keith was only 28 years old when he died in a plane crash in 1982. At the time of his death he had only released four albums (remember them...the large round peices of black plastic with little hole in in the put them on this box and played the music with a thing called a needle? about the middle ages). And yet I cannot think of any Christian musician that has had a bigger impact on my life, and the life of many others than Keith Green.

I had embraced Jesus at the age of 10 as my Saviour, but somewhere around the age of 15 as trouble brewed at home and I was exposed to many of the temptations the world has to offer, I began a slow decline down a slippery slope that would eventually last for ten years and leave me a broken man in many ways.

When I cried out to the Lord he heard me. He restored me into a sweet fellowship with Himself. My initial prayer inlcuded words that went something like this, "Lord, I want to start all over again. I don't want to take anything I've ever known about you for granted, teach me about yourself like I have become newly born again."

He used the music of Keith Green to do just that. Although I had heard Keith's music several years before, I had not really listened to his music. Now, Keith was with the Lord and I went out and purchased those first four albums that he released. I began to really listen to the lyrics that he was singing.

Let me share some of those with you from his first album, "For Him Who Has Ears To Hear".

"You Put This Love In My Heart"

I found it hard to believe
Someone like you cared for me
You put this love in my heart...

...Well I know
the loneliness I had before
Is gone now
I'll never feel it anymore

Cause your love has released me
From all that's in my past
And I know I can believe you
When you say I'll never be forsaken
Your love is gonna last"

"When I Hear The Praises Start"

My son, My son, why are you striving
You can't add one thing to what's been done for you
I did it all while I was dying
Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you

For when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child and you know me
To Me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do for Me

My child, My child, why are you weeping
You will not have to wait forever
That day and that hour is in My keeping
The day I'll bring you into Heaven

For when I hear the praises start
My child, I want to rain upon you
Blessing that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child and you know me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do in Me

My precious bride, the day is nearing
When I'll take you in My arms and hold you
I know there are so many things that you've been hearing
But you just hold on to what I have told you

For when I hear the praises start
My bride, I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child, and you know Me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done will remain
Only what you do for me

"He'll Take Care Of The Rest"

You know it ain't no use, banging your head, up against that cold stone wall,
Cause nobody's perfect, except for the Lord, and even the best bound to fall,
Remember He is de vine, and you are de branch,
He'd love to get you through it if you'd give Him a chance,
Just keep doing your best,
And pray that it's blessed,
And Jesus takes care of the rest.
Yes the Lord said that He'd take care of the rest, He's gonna do it,
He'll take care of the rest, He'll see you through it,
He'll take care of the rest, the devil blew it,
He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the rest.

"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, until your love, broke through

These are all from the first album Keith Released, "For Him Who Has Ears To Hear". You can get it, and much more information about Keith as well as resources to help you in your walk with Christ at

In I Corinthians 1:11 Paul writes, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." I'm glad that the Paul only asks us to imitate the part of him that imitates Christ, because Paul also called himself the chief of sinners, and I'm sure he would not want us to imitate that part of his life.

In the same way, I have reached a point in my spiritual walk where I desire to imitate Keith Green, as he imitated Christ. Keith had many faults, just like we all do, but there is no denying his passion and love for his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. There is no doubt of his love and zeal for the Word of God, and there is no getting around the fact that this man was also passionate about reaching out to a lost and dying world with the love of Jesus.

Thank you Keith, for allowing yourself to be used by God.
I'll see you at home one day.

Tomorrow I will post some lyrics and thoughts about Keith's second album.

Because of You, Jesus.
Pastor Dave

Friday, November 28, 2008

Spectacular Sins

John Piper makes my brain hurt.

Whenever I read a book by Piper, it takes me longer than any other book, by any other author. Piper puts so much into his books that I find myself reading lines on the page over and over again just so I can understand the point he is trying to get across.

Now this is not a bad thing; it's just that it means that reading a book by Piper is different than reading books written by anyone else.

Having said that, I have just finished reading my first "headache free" Piper book, and what a book it is!

"Spectacular Sins And Their Global Purpose In The Glory Of Christ"


is one amazing book. In it, Piper answers some of the hardest questions that have ever been posed about the God of the Bible and about Christianity.

I'm not going to go into detail about what is in this book; you just need to read it. After all, any book with an introduction that has a sub-title of "When The Bruised Heart Needs A Tire Iron" is a different type of book.

This book answers the question about sin and the devil & how can any "good" come from these well as addressing particular sins of the scripture, such as David's fall and the sin of Judas.

I will leave you with a few quotes from the book to whet your appetite. One thing is for sure, you won't hear this preached in many churches in the good ol' USA.

"Christians in the West are weakened by wimpy worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. God is weightless in our lives. He is not terrifyingly magnificent. His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to His sensitivity."

And then there is this one:

"What is missing is the Bible. I mean the whole Bible, with its blood and guts and sins and horrors...and all of it under the massive hand of God. The hand whose fingers flick stars into being. The hand that gives life and takes it. The hand that rules everything. Everything. What we need is to know the great things about God. Knowing great things about God will help make us ready not to collapse under cataclysmic conflict and personal catastrophe."

And finally:

"I am writing this book to build a vision of God into our lives that will not let us down in the worst of times. I mean really bad times. Horrific times. Who is prepared to meet the agony that is coming? Our worship services and our preaching too often pamper us. They coddle."

Believe it or not, the above quotes come from the first six pages of the introduction. That's right--the introduction. And it only gets better from there.

I want to leave you with one last quote. This is where Piper states his reason for writing this book:

"My aim is to show that sin and evil, no matter how spectacular, never nullify the decisive, Christ-exalting, purposes of God. No, my aim is more than that. These spectacular sins do not just fail to nullify God's purpose to glorify Christ, the succeed, by God's unfathomable providence, in making His gracious purpose come to pass."

I cannot say it enough. This is an amazing book. It is a small book (only 112 page of reading, plus some with notes), but the information inside of it is BIG.

Do yourself a favor, pick up "Spectacular Sin" by John will make you think but I promise, you won't get a headache.

Now I'm off to read some Tozer.

Pastor Dave