Having played with many of the giants of jazz and pop American BEVERLY NEIDORF was brought back to life by Jesus - quite literally. Mike Rimmer hears Beverley's extraordinary testimony.
Multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, flute, sax, and guitar) singer/song-writer Beverly Neidorf's career was taking off. She had played with Van Morrison, Ricky Lee Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Al Jarreau and The Crusaders. However, God had other ideas about the destiny of her life. Through illness and many supernatural interventions, the Lord guided this anointed singer into his path. And it was while touring with Van Morrison that Beverley reached a crossroads in her life. Running in the entertainment industry's fast lane she thought she would find fulfilment but continued to feel empty. In the middle of the hard work of sustaining a career, Beverley reached out to find the Lord. He revealed himself and she was born again. However, the fast pace of her life had weakened her life and within a month her liver failed.
Talking to me on the telephone Beverly remembers, "My liver failed and I was very quickly in a critical condition." Alone in her bedroom, she died. She continues to recount the experience: "I died and rose up into the presence of the Lord. That experience changed my life."
As you'll soon find out, Beverly Neidorf has been through some amazing experiences. I am intrigued to find out what it felt like to die. She recalls, "I was conscious the entire time. The Lord took me into his presence when my liver began to fail and it came around me in a very visible and tangible way. That lasted for six days and nights. During that time, I began to die several times. It's an interesting experience being pulled either upward or downward, depending on whom you serve. You can do nothing to stop it. I was pulled upward into his presence. The Lord started to communicate with me about my purpose on the earth."
She continues, "I didn't understand everything that was happening because I was fairly new to Jesus. I'd been raised in the Church but had been backslidden for about 10 years. But this much I knew - I wanted to be as close to him as I could for ever. It changed my viewpoint in the sense that my entire focus was to get to know Jesus and to become intimate with him as a best friend." I wondered whether it was a frustration for Beverley to come back into the body after being with Jesus in the spirit? She explains, "That evening the Holy Spirit was around me, comforting me and helping me. He showed me a prayer to pray which I did then he healed me and touched me in some way, because I shot back into my body at a high speed. I started laughing and crying at the same time. My husband George was there and he didn't know what was going on. I said, 'I'm not going to die now,' but he thought I meant I wasn't going to die in the next five minutes. But I meant that I knew I was coming back to fulfil my purpose on earth. The Lord's presence stayed with me for the rest of the night, which was fine because I was having a great time!"
One of the major consequences of Beverley's experience of God in dying was that she began to seek the Lord and ask him how she could spend more intimate times with him. He taught her the ways of worship and how to come to him to love him with simplicity. Those early lessons have been a foundation for Beverly's subsequent ministry. "My passion is to lead people into the tangible presence of the Lord," she explains, "whereby we're changed. The Lord is so smart - he showed me exactly what to do! He whetted my appetite by taking me into his presence when I was ill, but he also showed me a tremendous principle which is outlined in Isaiah: 'You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid upon you.' The only way I knew how to do it was to tell him how wonderful he is and to love him. Seeing as I was bed-fast and very weak, I had time to do this. I began to fix my soul upon him, giving my affection to him and loving him."
Still weak in body, the doctors didn't know how to 'fix' her, but she and her husband knew that God could and he was completely faithful to her. Beverly was in bed for about 13 months and was in incredible pain. But amazingly she experienced great joy and peace because she had found access to his presence. "That was a treasure worth more than gold to me," she says. "I had no more career, my health was gone, my strength was gone but I found this incredible door of access into the presence of the Lord. I'd had more joy wasting away than as a healthy, successful woman."
Eventually Beverly discovered that it was God's desire to heal her. "Around 12 months later, I was worshipping God when he told me to go and find a church! I told George, who was Jewish and an unbeliever. That day someone pushed a newspaper through our door. In it was an article about a woman healed from rheumatoid arthritis. George said, 'Wouldn't it be incredible if you could be healed?'" She laughs at the memory and then continues, "We went to the church and they laid hands on me but nothing happened. We liked those folk so much that we kept coming back. Eventually we went to see the pastor privately. He discerned that there was an evil spirit making me sick so he commanded it to leave. I felt very little but a peace washed over me. We knew everything was going to be alright. The pastor began to teach us about believing the Word of God. I began to meditate on the Word of God and I knew that the thing which was making me sick had been broken. I began to trust the Lord and regained strength from that day."
The reality of Beverly's spiritual battles were close by her and sometimes it was frightening. She remembers one incident, "My spiritual perception was heightened by worshipping the Lord. As I began to know him, I developed a keener sense of what was going on. At one point I saw the demonic thing that was making me sick sitting at our kitchen table and I was quite frightened, I must say. I didn't know too much, but I knew that Jesus is the most powerful person in the universe, so I cried out to him. He began to surround me with his presence."
If the powers of darkness unnerved her a little, the same could be said for the powers of Light! Most of us dream of seeing angels but Beverly was deeply struck by the awesome visitation. She describes her feelings, "That was a little scary as well! People who say they've seen angels and are unmoved I wonder at. It scared the fire out of me! It was an evening when I'd been leading worship at church and had been healed at this time but was still trusting God for strength. I was really tired and was low on energy. I came home and was worshipping the Lord when he sent angels into my room. It overwhelmed me. They shone brighter than any light I've ever seen. They were obviously for me and not against me, but they terrified me, quite frankly! I looked at them but they weren't looking at me - I was grateful for that because I thought I might melt! They were radiating a light we call the Glory of the Lord. I was strengthened by their presence and my health began to recuperate. I began singing a song the Lord gave me and I woke my husband up!"
At that stage, Beverly and George were living together. George had nursed her through illness and seen the power of God so he became a Christian too. Soon afterwards they decided to get married. However, disaster loomed on the horizon of their wedding day. Beverley describes the day, "Just before we left for the wedding I was on the back porch worshipping and the Lord told me to pray before leaving the house. George was with my folks and the Lord spoke to him as well. But people started arriving and we just forgot to pray. So we got in the car with my folks. We pulled out of our driveway onto a highway and there was a blind spot there. We were hit by a car at high speed which ran into the back seat where we were all sitting. My pelvis was broken on either side and crushed in the middle. George's ribs were cracked. That was our drive to the wedding."
Immediately she believed that God wanted to heal her of the broken pelvis. I would imagine the experience of being so close to death and then raised up by the power of God would give one faith for divine healing! Beverley started to walk. It didn't work! Consequently on the day that she should have been married, she was admitted into hospital and yet again, had time to spend with God.
It was a learning time and she remembers, "I began seeking the Lord and asked him what his will was. My pastor, who's very strong on divine healing, was told by the Lord not to pray for me. I knew in my heart that the Lord wanted to give me a special gift to bless me in this whole thing. He also gave me a specific scripture - Galatians 3:13 which says, 'For Christ Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for me.' Having your pelvis broken is definitely a curse! I began meditating on that and thanking God."
Pretty quickly, she was fed up with being in hospital and persuaded the doctors to let her go home. She continued to meditate on the word of healing with George and believe in it. One evening she felt God's presence very powerfully. She continues, "I went to bed about nine o'clock and the presence of the Lord came around me. I heard an audible voice above my head saying, 'Get up!' I couldn't move! The voice again said, 'Get up and walk.' So I brought my legs up and there was no more' pain in my hip joint. I got up and walked all around rejoicing and praising the Lord. It was the most normal thing for him to heal me! In fact, next to his presence, it was a little bit pale! So I just got back into bed and worshipped him far into the night."
Out of such life experiences and intimacy with Jesus, God has birthed a ministry in Beverly to bring others into closeness with God through music, ministry, teaching and worship. Sometimes Beverley is described as a psalmist. I asked her to explain what that meant. "A psalmist is basically a prophetic singer," she begins, "David being the type that we know. I've found that God has been good to us. Since we came to him he's brought a lot of people into our lives who are prophetic musicians and singers -psalmists. It's helped us, just by watching their lives and our own, to clarify what that is. When you meet psalmists you find that they're very interested in a relationship with Jesus. David being the pattern, he was so nuts about the Lord that he kept saying things like, 'One thing have I desired.' He keeps tossing his crown aside in favour of fellowshipping with God in his temple. I've found that to be a hallmark of psalmists when I meet them. I believe it's because of that quest and the Lord's hunger that he places in us that he begins to share his heart with us. When we sing, we're singing the heart of God and revealing who the Father is through song."
I wondered whether the songs Beverly used in worship were written or spontaneous? "Spontaneous songs, largely." She explains, "I don't really cogitate over them very much. Since meeting Jesus, I find that when I get songs, they fall on me in a few minutes. The Lord gives them to me by revelation, or by his own hand - beyond stuff that I know about."
Using spontaneous songs in worship can sometimes be intimidating for those who are not familiar with singing from the heart. Without the safety net of words on acetate, aren't worshippers inclined to be a little uncomfortable? "I find that when someone's leading who really has experience in that area, it's quite smooth and people find a lot of peace in it. There's an accompanying freedom too. I believe it comes from the fact that it's something the Lord is saying right now. There's a bonding when you share your heart in a first person sort of way. In my experience it leads people to a greater intimacy with God."
Intimacy in worship is something we can look forward to at the Cross
Rhythms festival as Beverly teaches, plays and ministers to people
afterwards. Hopefully, things will take off into the prophetic as God
breaks in and the Holy Spirit begins to move. Beverley makes no big
plans as she explains, "Our focus is always to find out what the Lord
is doing in a specific situation then let him share his heart with us
in the worship, and vice versa. We lead the people into more
transparent worship, more vulnerability on the part of the
Look forward to a powerful experience. Out of a dramatic and dynamic life of encounter with God, Beverly Neidorf carries with her a very special anointing. She concludes, "We're after a face-to-face encounter with Jesus via the Holy Spirit that will change people and will draw them into more of a hunger for him."