Spontaneous praise ignites revival in New Mexico church
EDITOR’S NOTE: Susan is well known in Jackson, Michigan, because of her years of leading worship at Mount Hope Dayspring Church there and other community involvement. In the spring of 2005, her mother sent her an urgent SOS from New Mexico to come and help the church her grandfather had started there. Susan, her husband Michael and two young children, obeyed God and moved to New Mexico. Now read what happened…
I just wanted to drop a note to update you on the work God has done here. I don’t know if I can really convey the significance of this to you, but I will try.
Let me preface this by saying that when we came to New Mexico last May, I had never attended a service so completely dry and void of God.
The church had been torn apart by strife and those that remained were hanging on to any thread of religion or sense of duty that they had just to continue attending church. There was no worship (none that could be detected anyway), and I don’t mean just that all they sang was hymns, although that is true, I mean there was no sense of anything that was being done as a true act of worship. It was routine and ritual.
Even I dreaded coming to church (not good when you are the pastor)! It was tortuous to me, since deep worship had been the focus of my life for the last about 13 years. After all the good experiences Mike and I have had in the charasmatic world, it hit us like a ton of bricks (maybe a ton of wet blankets) that here we were, back in a Christian Reformed Church!
The only encouragement we had was a very strong sense of God’s calling on our lives to be here. And believe me, we hung onto that tightly! But we began to realize something over the course of last year…that dry wood burns faster!!!!!!
Most of you who I’ve kept in touch with somewhat over the last year or so will know that God began to do a great work, little by little, in healing hearts, restoring relationships, delivering people out of religious bondage, and bringing them from “puffed up” head knowlege about God into true life change (all by the power of His living Word—praise God). The church has grown and the people have too.
I tried to teach on worship as much as I could and I thought some of what I taught got through, but it seemed like maybe just at an intellectual level.
The Sunday morning worship atmosphere improved, as we put together a worship team and learned a lot of good songs, but still the congregation was still rarely “moved” by the worship.
I toyed around with the idea many times of having a “sponteneous worship” night, but I always thought that so few people would understand it, that it would never work with the congregation.
A few months ago, I decided to try it with just the worship team. God really met us and we had an awesome time of worship, and I thought to myself “I wish that the others were here to experience this”, but then immediately I shut that idea down. I was too afraid. It’s hard to explain why. I guess partly I felt very protective of these deep worship times with God, and I was deeply afraid of somehow “throwing my pearls to pigs” and having some critical person step all over them
Well, God began to deal with me on this last month—with the “fear of man” (fear of criticism) that had kept me from introducing the congregation to deep worship. He finally got beyond my thousand excuses, and impressed upon me that we needed to hold a Sunday night worship time. He even gave me a name for it – ”The Deep End”.
So last night was the night. I had promoted it to the congregation for a few weeks and, to my surprise and delight, we had a huge turn out.
We began to worship with Donnie (our worship leader) on the native flute, and instantly the Spirit of God filled the room. For the next hour and a half, everyone in the room was completely enraptured (is that a word? it should be) by the Presence of God, and we worshiped.
We really worshiped Him “in the splendor of His majesty” until the Presence of God was thick. We had no song list, we just poured out our hearts in spontaneous psalms to the Lord.
When it was all over, God led us into intercession for the city. No one walked out, thinking it was too wierd and charasmatic (like they had in my imagination), in fact, no one even wanted to leave. The Presence of God was incredibly thick. My mind had been officially blown!!!
God….coming to a Red Mesa Christian Reformed Church…His life breathed into one of the dryest bodies of bones of all.
When I came into the office the next morning, HE was still there!!! I felt like He was still basking in the glory of the previoius night, and I just sat here with Him, giddy with joy and greatfulness for what He had done.
I hope this makes sense to you who are reading it. If you’ve never felt real dryness, or never felt real floods of His Presence, you may be wondering what the big deal is. but I think most of you who pray for us will understand what last night meant to me.
Please continue to pray for God to move among the Navajo (and Dutch!) here in Farmington, New Mexico.
Thank you for your prayer support. –Susan LaClear
Susan has a self-produced CD that is full of beautiful love songs to Jesus.
Email her for details → slaclear at msn dot com