"Setting the Gospel to Music"







By Ray Lewis

          Some folks donít believe in women preachers. But Iíve learned that some women preach anyway, regardless of what some folks believe.

          It was the mid-sixties. Times were hard. I had a minimum-wage job trying to support a wife and three kids. The family limousine was an old 51 Plymouth station wagon. The floorboards were rusted out and had to be patched to keep the kids from falling through. The gas gauge didn't work so when I put my dollar's worth of gas in the tank, I'd write down the odometer mileage on the sun visor. That way, I'd know about how far I could go before I'd have to put in another dollar's worth of Regular.

          I had just rededicated my life to the Lord and was attending the Friendly Pentecostal Church of God in Van Buren, Arkansas. It was CampMeeting time and the annual meeting was held just down the road at Alma, Arkansas. The preacher was a lady from Scotland by the name of Ethel Hook. Undoubtedly, no one had ever told her she couldn't preach. If they did, she had certainly paid no attention. She was definitely out of the "old school." In all years since, I've never heard anyone preach harder or shout louder than Sister Ethel Hook.

          Anyway, on one particular night of the meeting, she preached from Genesis to Revelation. Her message was the truth of the Bible and how every prophecy had happened just as the Bible had declared. Of course, when she got into the New Testament, she preached about Jesus, with stories like how he commanded the storm to cease, and told the man at the pool of Bethsada to rise up and walk, etc. Then she would say, "And it happened just like He said!"

          Having just gotten back in church, at that point in my life, I had only written two Gospel songs. But as I listened to that message that night, I knew, or at least I thought I knew, that I was hearing a great concept for a song. When I left the meeting, the first thing I did when I got in the car was pull the visor down and write, "It Happened Just Like He Said."

          The meeting came and went and life fell back into it's usual ebb and flow. Then one day, several weeks later, I pumped some gas and as I pulled the visor down to write the odometer mileage I noticed what I had written that night at the camp meeting. I immediately wrote the song and sang it at church. Everyone seemed to like it so I put it on tape, had a prayer meeting over it, and sent it to my favorite Gospel group in the whole world, The Happy Goodman Family. I didn't have a clue whether or not it was even their style, I just loved their singing and so it never occurred to me to send it to anyone else. A couple of weeks later, I received a telegram from Rusty Goodman. My heart came up in my throat. I called the number and would you believe Rusty answered the phone! I'd never talked to a real live Gospel singer before and I still recall how that deep resonate voice with that southern accent just blew me away. He said, "We're gonna do your song and Vestal is gonna sing it." I think I managed to maintain my composure until the phone conversation was over, then I went ballistic.

          The Goodmans went on to record other songs I had written, but "It Happened" was the greatest thrill of my life and I continue to cherish the memory. It was the first step into a gospel songwriting career that has now spanned forty years with songs recorded by everyone from the Kingsmen Quartet to the Grand Ole Opry's Connie Smith.






It Happened, like He said,

As He cleansed the lepers and raised the dead,

Fed the five thousand with five loaves of bread.

Then He said, "Greater things than this shall ye do,

For I go to make the intercession for you,"

And it happened, just like He said.



Verse One


On the Sea Of Galilee a storm prevailed,

But the Lord arose and said, "Peace be still"

And it happened, just like He said.

Those round about said what sort of man

Rebukes the elements and they understand,

And it happens, just like He said.



Repeat Chorus



Verse Two


Blind Bartimaeus cried out by the road,

Jesus said, "Your faith has made you whole."

And it happened, just like He said.

Jesus said, "What do you want from me?"

Bartimaeus cried, "Lord, that I might see."

And it happened, just like He said.



Repeat Chorus



Verse Three


Jesus said, "Surely I must go away,

But if I go, I'm coming back some day,"

And it'll happen, just like He said.

"I go to prepare a place for you,

That where I am, you can be, too,"

And it'll happen, just like He said.


After Verse...Chorus says, "It'll happen" instead of "It happened"



Extra Verse Never Recorded


The woman at the well surely was amazed,

When the Lord revealed her sinful ways,

And it happened, just like He said.

She ran through the streets and said, "Come see the one

Who told me all the things that I ever done,

And it happened, just like He said."



© Ray Lewis/OldeStory Music/BMI

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