We have a winner! After pouring through entries from listeners across the country, the panel of judges from Moody Radio has made its selection. Congratulations goes to John Devine of Elgin, Illinois for writing the winning submission in The Gospel Changes Everything Lyric Contest!
The lyrics John penned are posted on this page. They will be included in a new single featured on Moody Radio March 15–19 during Spring Share 2022, our annual giving event that helps keep our radio ministry proclaiming the gospel on the air!
Professional vocalist and songwriter Erskin Anavatarte will incorporate John’s lyrics into a song that will play throughout Spring Share. John will also receive $500 as part of his grand prize for winning the contest.
A special thank you to everyone who took the time to submit entries for the lyric contest!
John is no stranger to Moody Radio. Born and raised in Richfield, Ohio, John’s father was the morning “wake-up” announcer at WCRF Moody Radio Cleveland.
“My dad's heart for the Lord and all of creation and my mom's effort to teach my sister and me to read and grow have had lifelong influences on me that I thank God for,” John says.
After high school, John attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He majored in American Intercultural Ministries and met his future wife, Ana.
“I remember how we walked all over Chicago on dates,” John says. “We married a week after graduation in 1983 and still walk together often wherever we are at.”
Today, John and Ana are blessed with three children and four grandchildren.
John has taught social studies at Elgin High School in Elgin, Illinois, for over three decades. He credits his Moody education for equipping him with the tools to make a kingdom difference in a public high school of more than 3,000 students.
“My major at Moody helped prepare me for the dynamic and diverse student body there,” John says. “The public schools have meant a great deal to me since attending as a child, sending our own children, and teaching for 32 years now. There are many problems but much opportunity and hope. I actually wrote the Spring Share lyrics while supervising third-period study hall—don't tell my boss!”
The lyrics John wrote for The Gospel Changes Everything reflect his view of the needs of a 21st-century post-Christian society.
“Many dismiss the gospel as one of many paths to God or feel free to completely change or ignore the clear message of the gospel to avoid any real need for it,” John says. “But these words also represent my own occasional sidestepping of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I am so thankful for His kindness and persistence over the years and for the power and impact of God’s Word and good friends in the church on my heart and mind.”
More importantly, John’s lyrics emerge from his desire to see the gospel transform lives in his extended family, his community, and around the world.
“The song speaks to my own hope,” John says, “that many—from members of my own growing household to many more outside—would hear and respond and be changed by the life-giving work of the gospel.”
When the preacher gave the diagnosis, I didn’t hear good news;
Just seemed to me that it’s OK whatever you choose.
But God’s kindness and persistence brought me to the truth.
I tried to change the gospel, but it changed me.
Yeah, I tried to change the gospel, but it changed me.
. . . And not just a little bit . . .
A heavy heart of hard-earned guilt
cleansed by the blood Jesus spilt.
Once alienated, since reconciled.
Chronic desperation exchanged for hope of resurrection.
Narrow-sighted vision touched by seeing God so love the world.
A first unwanted rescue saved me from this present evil age.
Once I tried to change the gospel, but now it changes me.
And though some days the dark is deep
I will not move from this gospel hope because
I tried to change the gospel, but praise God, it changed me.