Wandering down the city street at 3 a.m., Seth Irby furiously created song lyrics in his mind. The 26-year-old guitarist and singer for Keynote, the music ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, was feeling anxious and spiritually dry.
"It was one of those times when I didn't feel God's presence in my life," says the enigmatic artist. "And I wanted more of Him." So he poured his angst into words.
The phone lies silent
On the bedroom shelf
And I am staring at myself
In the bathroom mirror
Waiting for the call
But there is no sound at all
"The phone is a metaphor for communication with God," he says, "and how hard it is sometimes."
The song would prove more than a late-night rant. Seth has played "The Phone is Silent" at numerous evangelistic concerts with Piper Down, the Keynote band he is the front man for -- especially during the part of the concert when the band gives the audience an invitation to pray and receive Christ.
"This is a song I wrote when I was searching for God," Seth tells audiences. "It's not always a piece of cake. It can be the hardest thing you do, but the best thing you do."
During a 3-week tour in Australia, Seth's band played for more than 2,700 teenagers and college students, and 271 of them indicated decisions for Christ. Audiences in America have also responded favorably.
The 7-member band plays a rock and "post-hardcore" style of music, reminiscent of punk. Seth has written other songs that Piper Down plays.
"I came to Keynote because I want to write songs that can turn Christians to a greater commitment with the Lord and to help non-Christians to see a faith that is authentic," he says.