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So You Wanna Be A Rock Star
by Keith Green
For as long as he could remember, the late Keith Green's greatest dream was to be a
musical success. After he gave his life to Jesus, however, he felt the need to surrender those aspirations. Ironically, when sometime later he sensed God was directing him to pick these abilities back up, his music soared straight to the top of the contemporary Christian charts. The following message was birthed out of his personal struggle to strike a balance between music and missions, humility and fame.
Today, so many people ask me if I can tell them how they can start or enter into a music ministry. 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
"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.
Are You Willing?
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
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?" They all seem to answer each of these questions with a quick "yes!" But I really doubt if they know what their answer entails.
My dearest family in Jesus...why are we so star struck? Why do we idolize Christian singers and speakers? We go from glorifying musicians in the world, to glorifying Christian musicians. It's all idolatry! Can't you see that? It's true that there are many men and women of God who are greatly anointed to call down the Spirit of God on His people and the unsaved. But Satan is getting a great victory as we seem to worship these ministers on tapes and records, and clamor to get their autographs in churches and concert halls from coast to coast.
Can't you see that you are hurting these ministers? They try desperately to tell you that they don't deserve to be praised, and because of this you squeal with delight and praise them all the more. You're smothering them, making it almost impossible for them to see that it's really Jesus. They keep telling themselves that, but you keep telling them it's really them, crushing their humility and grieving the Spirit that is trying to keep their eyes on Jesus.
Ultimately, what we idolize we ourselves desire to become, sometimes with our whole heart. So a lot of people who want to become just like their favorite Gospel singer or minister, seek after it with the same fervor that the Lord demands we seek after Him! And again, we insult the Spirit of Grace and try to make a place for ourselves, rather than a place for Jesus.
A Thankless Job
How come no one idolizes or praises the missionaries who give up everything and live in poverty, endangering their lives and families with every danger that the "American dream" has almost completely eliminated? How come no one lifts up and exalts the ghetto and prison ministers who can never take up an offering, because if they did they would either laugh or cry at what they'd receive?
Because (1) we're taught from very early on that comfort is our goal and security… and (2) that we should always seek for a lot of people to like us. Who lives less comfortably and has had less friends and supporters than the selfless missionaries who have suffered untimely, premature deaths trying to conquer souls and nations for the whole glory of God? Do you really believe we're living in the very last times? Then why do you spend more money on Gospel records and concerts than you give to organizations that feed the poor, or to missionaries out in the field?
There are ministries all over the world where "penniless" people are being saved and transformed. They are broken people who have promise and qualities, but just need someone to bring them God's light during the times when their lives seem so completely hopeless.
I repent of ever having recorded one single song, and ever having performed one concert, if my music, and more importantly, my life has not provoked you into Godly jealousy (Romans 11:11) or to sell out more completely to Jesus!
Quit trying to make "gods" out of music ministers, and quit desiring to become like them. The Lord commands you,
"Deny yourself take up your cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
My piano is not my cross, it is my tool. I'd never play it again if God would show me a more effective tool in my life for proclaiming His Gospel.[God gives us each our own unique tools. But we may never use them if we become more interested in someone else's. Seek God, ask Him for His plan for ministry
(true, God glorifying ministry)
in your life.]
To finish, let me say that the only music minister to whom the Lord will say,
"Well done, thy good and faithful servant,"
is the one whose life proves what their lyrics are saying, and to whom music is the least important part of their life. Glorifying the only worthy One has to be a minister's most important goal!
Let's all repent of the idolatry in our hearts and our desires for a comfortable, rewarding life when, really, the Bible tells us we are just passing through as strangers and pilgrims in this world (Hebrews 11:13), for our reward is in heaven. Let's not forget that our due service to the Lord is "...
not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake"(Phil. 1:29).
Amen. Let us die graciously together and endure to the end like brave soldiers who give their lives, without hesitation, for our noble and glorious King of Light.
Keith Green, 2/22/2007
Chris, Cape Town (Guest)
Praise God, this is so much to the point!
Can not someone send this to Hillsong!? AND their fans...
tommy from Germany (Guest)
great & true words. quite provoking.
i think this message is a MUST to the current Christian music scene. The old capitalistic trap: the more CDs were sold the better they are... by the way: is such a scene altogether legitimate?
Robert Noland (Guest)
Keith had such a way with setting us back on the path. I have been a worship leader for about ten years, and love the thrill of singing with the youth band. When I listen to Keith, he exposes my desires and steers me back in the right direction.
Thank You Keith
and all at LDM
Stan in California (Guest)
I read what Keith wrote so many years ago and it still rings true today. There are so many who we idolize, both in the world and in our churches. I have met people who "enjoy the spot light" and those who "redirect the attention to the True Light." God will use both to proclaim the gospel. "If God can use a donkey he is very willing to use us."
We must daily seek after God's heart and be His hands extended. Thank you Keith and thank you LDM for helping my heart wake up.
Thanks for these wise words from Keith. We forget sometimes what our purpose as Christians is here on earth. We need to hear words like this as a constant reminder of who we are in Christ Jesus
Craig Mackenzie - South Africa (Guest)
Big lump in my throat. I am so guilty of seeking self praise but God the creator of the universe is the only One who deserves our praise and adoration. Lord forgive me for my part in idolatry
Mark V- California (Guest)
WOW, There is so much to say, but nothing as eloquint & convicting as what our dear brother Kieth has shared. The Spirit of Truth that compelled this article by Kieth, still cries out to us all. I layed my musical gift at "His" feet many years ago, for my flesh was to weak & the lure, lust, and deception of this world was pulling me to my destruction. I've since worked with youth to encourage them to constantly check their spirit as to where the use of a musical gift is leading them. For this gift, & the unbridaled use of it, is what caused Lucifer to be cast out of Heaven. PR 11;2 & Pr 16;18. I look forward to the day when we will all join Kieth around the Throne of our Great & Gloriuos King, worshipping him for all eternity. Until then may we but taste of it when we join together in our private & corporate worship times. Using the medium of music, as it was meant to be. Created by & for The Father of our Salvation. Thank you LDM for printing this message. I pray it will continue to echo in the hearts of all who read it.
Your Brother, Mark Saved to Serve...
Greg Oates, Lisarow, Australia (Guest)
Back in 1976, I joined a group called the "Young World" Singers as a bass guitarist. And I too, was caught up in the spotlight of the stage, sound & lights......I wanted to be noticed. By 1979 the group was disbanded and for four long years I found myself not playing and feeling frustrated. I felt at first that God had abandoned me, but it was ME that abandoned God for my selfish desires. I finally asked God to forgive me and help me find something to do in His Service, even if it meant that I would never play again, even though it grieved me to let go of something I loved.....playing bass. Through some circumstances over time, I was playing in a church that didn't have a bass guitarist and there were no other musicians in my former local church in Sydney. Suddenly, I found a group, or should I say they found me, and they were searching for a bass to join them, and I was playing with them for about 8 years. God had changed my attitude and has and still is making me into a worshipper, and today I'm now playing on the Central Coast in a worship team in my local church, worshipping God with all He gives me, and it's no longer I that plays for the crowd, but to an audience of ONE, for I want to play my utmost for Him only. It doesn't matter anymore if I never play on a big stage, I just want to serve Him passionatly with EVERYTHING I have, for He alone deserves all the praise, the glory and the honour. Thank you for this message, Melody. I pray that big churches like Hillsong Australia gets this message, for there are a lot of ego's at stake there.
Reinart van Zyl, South Africa (Guest)
Thanks for the message and Glory to God for imparting that wisdom.
Mark T, Arizona (Guest)
When I was a kid I wanted to be a rock star and be famous because I thought that would be cool to not have to work for a living and just play my guitar and have lots of money. As I grew up and looked around me I noticed all the rock stars were dying. I grew up in the 70's and music was a huge part of the culture just as it is today. Well, God had a better plan for me and I learned about following Jesus instead of my dream. He still gave me my dream of being a musician. I would listen to Kieths music in the 70's and 80's and I learned how to give my life and talent to the Lord and let Him do the work in me...
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