He was always there when we needed him. At every low point in our lives, Gary would appear with his song.
When the Holy Spirit landed at the Toronto Airport Vineyard in 1994, Gary was there with his song. He accompanied Randy Clark as his worship leader for those momentous meetings that launched renewal around the world.
Desperate for more of God, we discovered that Gary was leading worship for nightly renewal meetings about an hour from our house. Each night for two weeks, we were lifted up into the stratosphere with a wonderfully extended worship set. After prayer ministry at the end of the meetings, we would lay on the carpet in the front of the sanctuary as Gary played soaking music over us all for over an hour.
We called him the “Energizer Bunny of Worship”. Gary would play and play without stopping and God’s presence would come and come without ceasing as well.
Years later, we found out that Gary had moved from St. Louis to become the worship leader for a large church in Pennsylvania. We drove a three hour round trip just to be in his worship again.
It had been a very long period of spiritual dryness for us. Debbie, my wife, had almost given up on encountering the presence of God in church again. Renewal seemed like a distant dream. “Maybe it never really happened?” she was tempted to wonder.
In the very first meeting, with Gary’s song playing in the background, the Holy Spirit powerfully filled her again. She says that it was as if she “came back to life” that night.
Years passed and we entered the dark night of our souls. During this time, we literally thought that we were going to die. We had lost everything.
Actually, it was more than “a night”. It was darkness that lasted for almost six years.
We found Gary and his song again. In a little church up in the mountains, he was leading worship and soaking music for three hours every Friday night. Arriving, we would lay our pillows and blankets on the floor and then bury ourselves in them.
The sweet tones and heavy presence of God would seep into our tortured world, soothing our nerves. Once again, hope was injected into our gloomy existence. We left recharged and ready for battle again.
We feel that if it were not for God using those Friday nights filled with Gary’s song that we might have both been checked into a mental institution during this terrible time.
So, there you have it…Gary Shelton, a beautiful instrument in the hands of a loving God was used to save our very lives.
Gary, you have been the soundtrack of the Renewal for us.
We love you!
Dan and Debbie Murrill