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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Every generation has always had a “voice crying in the wilderness”-calling people to come back to God. In the all time classic sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) the evangelist and renowned American Reformed Theologian preached emphasizing the widely held belief that Hell is a real and functional place. Edwards hoped that the imagery and message of his sermon would awaken his audience to the horrific reality that he argued awaited them should they continue without Christ.
“There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” -Jonathan Edwards
Edwards said that it is the will of God that keeps wicked men from the depths of Hell; this act of restraint has given humanity a chance to change their ways and return to Christ. Jonathan Edwards’ sermon continues to be the leading example of a Great Awakening sermon and is still used in religious and academic settings today. John Wesley another contemporary at the same time period later said, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”
On the 21st October 1953, Keith Gordon Green was born. Keith Green not only caught on fire for God but had an enthusiasm that burned for evangelism in a whole new dimension. ..and burn indeed he did. An evangelist at heart and a musician by gifting, Keith however died young at the tender age of twenty eight in 1982.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. – 1Co 9:24 ESV
However short Keith Green’s life was, his music and lyrical content are the stuff of legend. No wonder he was taken early to join in worship in that celestial city he sang of that God has been working on for the last two thousand years. But his memoirs remain with us to inspire and beckon us to bring others to the knowledge of God’s grace. Songs written by Green include Your Love Broke Through, You Put This Love In My Heart, and Asleep in the Light, as well as the popular modern hymns O Lord, You’re Beautiful and There Is A Redeemer.
In the words of Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, here indeed was a gospel lyricist, when comes another? This day I pay tribute to the one song that I consider his swan song and an evangelist’s anthem, Asleep in the Light.
Asleep in the Light is a song that should be banned in any church that has sold out with out reaching out. Its a song that should not grace any i-pod unless you want to remain awake in the night wondering what ever happened to that sales man who knocked on your door that you will never see again or that bus driver who took you to work.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Rom 10:14 ESV
Excerpts from Asleep in the Light:
“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
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a 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 fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed By Keith Green (1953-1982)
In Keith’s life there was never an option called compromise. After reaching unprecedented success and fame following the release of his first album, Keith was later to write the following extract:
At concerts I get countless questions about this, and I also get lots of letters and even some long-distance phone calls from many people who feel they are only “called” into the music “ministry.” One day I began to ask myself why so few have ever asked me how to become a missionary, or even a local street preacher, or how to disciple a new believer. It seems everyone would prefer the “bright lights” of what they think a music ministry would be, rather than the mud and obscurity of the mission field, or the streets of the ghetto, or even the true spiritual sweetness of just being a nobody whom the Lord uses mightily in small “everyday” ways.
My answer to their question is almost always the same. “Are you willing to never play music again? Are you willing to be a nothing? Are you willing to go anywhere and do anything for Christ? Are you willing to stay right where you are and let the Lord do great things through you, though no one may seem to notice at all?”
You Tube: Asleep in the Light
Links: Last Days Ministries