On this coming weekend's program you will hear a most unusual story from Archie Watkins about a song from songwriter Steve Moss, whose "regular work" is as a truck driver. The song is called, "The Gospel According to John." Actually, we had to condense greatly Archie's story for use on the air. But because it's so special, here's Archie's complete version, as he told it to us in our original interview with him:
"I called Steve and talked to him about [the song]. And he said, I make a run in around Atlanta, a delivery periodically,' and he said there's an area where there's a lot of beggars and drunks and a lot of people standing on the corner begging. And he said, I turned the corner one day and there stood a guy I had seen so many times that I recognized him.' He said he had a sign that said, My name is John, could you spare a dime?'
"Steve thought, well get a job. [But Steve had] been praying that the Lord would soften his heart toward lost people. When that thought came to his mind, the Lord spoke to him and said, I thought you just asked me to soften your heart toward these people.'
"So he got to fumbling around for some money to give the guy and didn't have but a couple of dollars, but he had his Bible laying on the seat beside him. So he took his Bible, opened it up and put a couple dollars in and handed it out the window to him and said, John this won't buy you a lot, but if you'll read and study it, it'll help you a lot.' And he said he drove off.
"Almost a year passed and he hadn't seen John anymore. But [he said,] I turned the corner one day and there he stood in a suit.' And Steve said, He had my Bible in his hand.' And he said this seemed so unreal to be a true story. It seemed like something Hollywood would come up with but this really happened. Steve Moss, truck driver in Jonesboro, GA, is who this happened to.
"And he said, When I saw it, I got so excited that I thought I'd roll down my window and speak to him.' So when he rolled down his window [the man] was singing Amazing Grace. And he said he thought he'd get out and help him sing Amazing Grace and talk to him. And he locked his 18-wheeler down in the middle of the street there, and when he started to get out a blue light was on behind him and he said, I thought, well, I'm going to help him anyway.'
"So he jumped out and helped him and the trooper got out and started helping them sing Amazing Grace. And he said when they finished singing, he said, John, I wondered what happened to you.' And the guy looked at him real solid and asked, How did you know my name was John?' And Steve said, I gave you that Bible, John.' And he said big tears came up in his eyes and he said, I wondered where that Bible came from. I woke up in the gutter and all I had was that Bible and I began to read it and study it and got under conviction and got saved and I'm a preacher now.' And he said, I come down here and witness to these people and I teach a Sunday School class at my church.'
"And the trooper said, boys, I'm enjoying this, but we've got to move the truck. So Steve jumped in his truck and told John he'd either see him again here or in Heaven. He got in his truck but has never seen him again. That song is really powerful because it's a true story... It's really changed my attitude about people standing on the corner begging. They're just as lost as I was before the Lord saved me. They're [each] a precious soul that needs to be reached."
So, if you had been in Steve Moss' place, how would you have responded? How should you have responded? In fact, has anything like that happened to you? (I'd like to hear about it.)
There's a lot in that story, but two key aspects jump out at me. First, Steve had been praying the Lord would soften his heart toward the lost. Do you pray that? Would you pray that? How would you expect the Lord to respond to such a prayer? Are you prepared to respond effectively if the Lord brings someone into your path who needs to hear the Gospel?
Second, you'll notice that Steve had his Bible right there with him in the cab of his 18-wheeler. Why? Obviously he read it whenever the opportunity presented itself. How's your Bible-reading coming along? Do you keep it handy wherever you go? Is it a daily companion? Would you give your Bible away to someone in need, as was the case in this story?
The other day I came across a little stack of booklets the Gospel of John that someone had given me, published by the Pocket Testament League. (www.pocketpower.org; and see below.) I plan to start carrying a few of them with me on my exercise walks through town to give away when circumstances seem appropriate. I'm willing to make myself available, and I'm anxious to see how God uses that.
How about you? Are you open to such opportunities?
FYI: The Pocket Testament League is a 115-year-old Christian outreach ministry that promotes Scripture reading and personal evangelism. Inspired by the vision of a teenage girl in 1893, membership now exceeds 200,000 members from many Christian denominations who have agreed to "Read, Carry, Share®" the Bible as the Word of God, and who have given away more than 100 million Gospel of John books in simple one-to-one encounters. Information about a free membership (which enables you to purchase low-cost giveaway Scriptures) is available here.
"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out laborers into his harvest field." (Luke 10:2)
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