"Setting the Gospel to Music"








By Laura Lewis

          In 1990 I was singing with my group, The Kindlers, for a revival under a big tent in Mount Vernon, Alabama. We finished singing and Church of God Evangelist Stanley Owensby stepped behind the pulpit. He was that night and still is today an awesome singer and guitarist extraordinaire.

          During his message he was making a point by telling a story about something that had happened to him during his earlier years of preaching...He’d been offered a grand position and sum of money to give a little “message” to the Alabama State Senate each time it was in session. Such a chance to “get ahead” in the world! The proposition had stayed in his mind for a while, but the bottom line was that he knew that was not the job that God had planned for him to do. Then his voice boomed over the microphone throughout the big tent, “I wouldn’t trade the old rugged cross (you could see he was trying to find the right words), then he said with almost a grin, “To sing, ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’!”

          Wow! As he said that, it was as if a light bulb had gone off in my head, the way God does with me when it’s time for a song! I grabbed my pen and started writing the very words he’d said.

          The next night we were singing in Jesup, Georgia. After the service, things were quiet on the bus. My daughter, Chel`e, was still in the church playing on the piano. That statement Bro. Owensby made the night before had been going around in my head the whole day. It reminded me of when I was young. . . I’d had a great offer, myself, to sing other music besides Gospel. Chel`e, too, had an offer much the same when she was finishing high school. We could both relate to that statement.

          So, I got my pen and paper and started writing. Before long, that song was finished! I took it into the church and sang it to Chel`e and asked her would she like to sing it. She emphatically said, "Yes!"

          Our record company loved the song, but thought it might be too controversial. Eventually they made the decision to send it to radio, and although their fears were well-founded and several stations would not play it, still it became a top-20 song. Chel`e's unique vocal gymnastics dazzled the industry and almost overnight she became one of the most imitated stylists in Gospel music. Radio continues to play this song even today.

          A side note...The song inspired and became instrumental in motivating a young pastor in Philpot, Kentucky named Gerald Crabb to launch a music ministry with his family, which would eventually take them to the pinnacle of Gospel music...The Crabb Family.

          I’ve been privileged to meet several people who’ve said this song was the reason they gave their hearts to Jesus. What a testimony, Stanley Owensby! God bless you for saying what you did that night in Alabama!





Verse One


Old Satan made me an offer

He promised great fortune and fame

He said my picture could be on front pages

And all the country would know my name

I could travel the whole world over

If I'd sing about the bright lights and the bars

But I won't trade the old rugged cross

To sing, "Your Cheatin' Heart."





I'll sing a cheating heart can find forgiveness

At the old rugged cross

And that the souls who come won't be cheated

Cause Jesus paid all the cost

A fortune awaits me in Heaven

And right now I'm already God's star

Cause I won't trade the old rugged cross

To sing, "Your Cheatin' Heart"



Verse Two


If it had not been for my sweet Jesus

Dying for me on the cross

I couldn't sing about His precious blood flowing

To cover the sins of the lost

So, I won't trade the Master I sing for

To have favor and fame here below

Cause I'd rather inherit God's riches

Than gain the world and lose my soul!



© Laura Lewis/Chestnut Mound Music/BMI

615-325-3872 Fax 325-8735 E-mail: lewisandlewisrus@aol.com


©2008 Lewis & Lewis