No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
Melody Green and David Hazard
This book was recommended when I asked several friends for the titles of books that changed their lives. My plan is to read one per month. I was very scientific about how I planned my reading for the year -- this book was first of those I ordered to arrive, so I read it first! You can see the full list of books I want to read (now at 24) here.
The book is approximately 500 pages and includes lots of pictures of singer Keith Green, his ministry, family, and friends. If I had to pick a quote from the book that summarized it all, it would be this:
"When we obey God in faith, we have no way of knowing what he will do with our efforts. We should never underestimate the power of one passionate heart in the hands of the all-powerful God."
Keith was part of the 60's generation and he and his later wife Melody got caught up in all the craziness that California had to provide at the time. He was an extreme seeker -- he knew there was more to live for than the daily grind, and he tried everything he could find that might help him find a purpose in life. He fought against Christianity for a long time, mostly because he had significant questions that weren't answered to his satisfaction. He was incredibly intense and he never gave up in his pursuit of meaning.
Along the way many people were critical to helping him find the love of Jesus and the truth of the Bible. Once he realized Jesus was truly the son of the one and only God, and that Jesus was also God himself, Keith gave himself over completely to God.
It wasn't an easy transition for him -- he struggled daily to understand what God wanted of him and how to be all he expected God wanted. He wrote hundreds of songs and delivered a powerful message to thousands of people who credit him for showing them the way to Christ.
The book is full of amazing lyrics and heartfelt passages from Keith's journal. I found myself bookmarking a lot of pages and underlining paragraphs. Through these insights the reader can see the intense struggle he went through to give up himself and be filled completely with God. He wrote, "All the talent in the world won't buy me a godly character...and that's what I want more than anything."
He lived a life that seemed to an outsider to be more than devoted, yet he always felt he wasn't doing enough for the Lord who gave everything for him. Many of his journal writings are so personal and deep, and I want to want God in my life in the same way. This book has opened my eyes to a level of introspection and action that I desperately want and need.
These excerpts from Keith's journal was especially meaningful to me:
"Prayer is the key. Make me a man of prayer! Put power in my words. Your word is powerful! Make your word my word, make your power my power. I want to be God's voice, full of love, mercy and fire! But I must be dead. I am ready for death! Kill me, destroy me, burn me beyond recognition. I know now that you would never hurt or harm me. You only want me dead! Let it be done! I don't want greatness. I want you to be great! Lower me down, humble me. Teach me to humble myself, O Lord! I love you so much, but not as you love the Father. I want to love you that way!"
"God has been so kind and patient with me, and now it's time to get serious about the call to serve Him. The Lord rebuked me yesterday for just occupying--just looking to do the next newsletter, the next album and tour, etc. He showed me that my vision was far too small and that I had lost my pioneer spirit. I had hidden my talent of potential for revival and soul-winning in the ground. I had become a corporate president instead of an apostle -- making new territories available to God's Spirit to glorify Him. Thank you for rebuking me in such love and kindness. I love you. Abba, and Jesus."
So many passages were either arrows into my heart, challenging me to listen and obey God more. Others were balm to a weary soul. These include:
"I know my (Melody's) losses deposited something deep into my spirit. Yes, I would have rather read a book to receive what God gave me in those darkest of times--but some pearls are only discovered when the field looks like an impossible wasteland. He is the God of the impossible. The God who tells us where to dig for the treasure. The God of great and tender mercies. And I love him with all of my heart."
"The main thing is that we decide to live differently. After we make a firm decision in our heart, God gives us the power to walk it out, and I think the temptations get less intense too."
And an analogy about godly works, not salvation by works: "An apple tree becomes an apple tree as a gift of God, but it proves it's an apple tree by making apples."
I highly recommend this book only if you truly want to take a good look at yourself and your relationship with God. You will be convicted if you read this!
KEY TAKE AWAYS:
1. God loves us unconditionally.
2. We take Him for granted.
3. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, but there are many things we can do in response to that love.
4. Few of us ever desire to give ourselves over to God with the intensity that Keith did. And few will have the impact he did -- there is a correlation!
5. I want to be intense in my Bible reading and prayer. I waste so much time on meaningless things and I do so little to point others to God. I want to be filled with the Spirit in a way that causes me to seek God first in everything, to listen for His voice, to watch Him in action, and to be obedient to whatever he asks.
6. I have been hiding my talents and coasting through life. Shame on me. God loves me intensely despite this, but I want less of me and more of Him. None of me and all of Him!
7. I added three more books to my Amazon list!
You can purchase the book here.
ABOUT THE BOOK (from the back cover):
He was only twenty-eight when he died in a plane crash with two of his small children, but singer/songwriter Keith Green had already created a legacy of music and inspiration that would outlive him. A spiritual revolutionary, he found freedom through Jesus at twenty-one and spent the rest of his short life convincing others to refuse to accept the status quo and to bring passion and honestly back to the church.
Now, on the 25th anniversary of his death, Melody has expanded and updated her husband's biography with many added stories and insights, never before published photos, extra selections from Keith's private journals, and glimpses into Melody's season of grieving and raising their two surviving children on her own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melody is probably most loved for the songs she’s written. “There Is A Redeemer” is found in church hymn books around the world, and reports of it being sung in villages in Africa and Asia are plentiful. She has also composed many other standards including, "Make My Life A Prayer To You," “You Are The One,” Rushing Wind,” and "The Lord Is My Shepherd."
Melody 's life is an adventure that just keeps unfolding. Besides writing songs she is also known internationally as an author and a minister. She is fearless when it comes to tackling difficult issues and bold in her travels. She has been to over 30 nations to speak at retreats, conferences, and church services… as well ministering to men and women in prisons, refugee camps, remote villages, leper colonies, underground churches, and those living in war zones.
Her best selling book, “No Compromise. The Life Story of Keith Green” has become a must-read classic, translated into numerous languages. Melody’s “ministry articles” are distributed as LDM WiseTracts by the multi-millions, especially her groundbreaking Pro-Life message, "Children Things We Throw Away" which at last count, 10 years ago, over 20 million had been distributed. You can learn more about her and Keith's live at http://www.melodygreen.com