Kingsburn Hall, Burnage, Manchester event review by Tony Wilson, Saturday 22nd July 2006.
An Evening of Praise And Worship is the kind of event most of the Church will be very familiar with. But the Time Of Refreshing which took place in Burnage, Manchester on 22nd July was a rather more unique event in that the music used for this event came from the pen of Keith Green, the American giant of Jesus music who before his death in 1982 left behind one of the richest and most anointed catalogue of songs written in the 20th century.
Coming together to sing these songs were singers and musicians from several local churches, most of whom are involved in leading worship on Sundays, as well as Doug Walker (who has worked with everyone from The Tribe to Prom Praise), Chip K (thebandwithnoname) and independent artist Chris Norris. Hannah Atkins also led some stirring worship at the end of the event, leading the crowd in classics like "There Is A Redeemer" and "Lord I'm Gonna Love You". The hall echoed to the songs of Keith Green, such as "Rushing Wind", "Create In Me A Clean Heart", "Asleep In The Night", "Holy, Holy, Holy", "O Lord You're Beautiful", "You Put This Love In My Heart" and others. Extracts from the recent DVD of Keith's life, No Compromise, were shown at different intervals throughout the evening.
Chip K read a part of a letter he had received from Melody Green (Keith's wife) in which she spoke about her excitement for our event. Melody wrote, "It is totally amazing to me that you are at this event right now, worshipping God and praising him to Keith's music. I know you can hear Keith's heart in his songs. He was the most passionate and genuine person I've ever known. The real deal! You might wonder why God has kept Keith's music so alive and relevant. I'll tell you what I think. It's because Keith Green actually lived the life he preached and sang about.
"Keith ministered to people off-stage a hundred times more than on-stage. He would finish a big concert then pick up a hitch-hiker and stay awake all night telling him about Jesus. or he'd invite a guy that just got saved at his concert to jump on our tour bus and travel on the road with us awhile to get grounded. or we'd go grab a hamburger in a local café and we'd end up sharing Jesus with a waitress or a cook for hours, invite them to a Bible study, then check back on them another day. They didn't even know Keith was a musician. So you see, besides Keith's obviously immense talent, I believe God anointed his music because he lived a life that backed up everything he preached and sang about.
"Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the plane crash that also took the lives of two of our children - two year old Bethany and three year old Josiah. Our other children Rachel and Rebekah are 23 and 25 now and love Jesus totally. In honour of next year's 25th anniversary, there are some very special events being considered. One possible idea is doing an evening similar to this one next year in the UK."
One of the group commented that Keith's music "carries something". Listening again as I did to his songs, I sensed that a deposit had been left in many hearts, from the Holy Spirit to Keith to us. Something difficult to define but involving a sense of urgency, passion and the total commitment of his heart. The Holy Spirit was clearly at work in our hearts and minds as we reflected upon the intensity of those few brief ministry years in the life of our brother Keith Green. Truly, "he being dead, still speaks." Are we listening?
My role was as an initiator, coordinator and supporter of these wonderful singers and musicians who worked so hard to make it happen. May the vision continue to grow!The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.