One of the giants of modern messianic worship, Paul Wilbur has come out with a new project titled “Forever Good”—a collection of 10 worship songs that is sure to set every messianic congregation on fire.
While he needs no introduction, let me just mention that Paul Wilbur has been a worship artist for almost 40 years now with several recordings in multiple languages, 3 million units in album sales, which include worship classics like “Shalom Jerusalem” and “The Watchman” (one of my favorites) and has led worship concerts all over the world.
It was while studying to be an opera singer in the mid 70s that Paul had a born again experience, which moved him to becomes a messianic worshiper whose influence, over the years, has transcended cultures and languages globally. He’s also the founder of ‘Harvest’, an early Jesus Movement band and ‘Israel’s Hope’, a messianic worship ministry.
What’s the idea behind “Forever Good”?
In Wilbur’s own words:
“Where His goodness is proclaimed, that’s where His presence shows up, He inhabits the praises of His people. We always talk about the alignment of Heaven and Earth, what about the alignment of heart and lips? Do our lips say one thing, while our hearts are far from Him? That’s the core message behind this project… the victory is in your mouth when your heart and your lips line up.”
Now, that’s a theme any Christian worshiper can agree with, right?
“Forever Good”—About the Songs
There’s a lot of nice co-writing in this album with Wilbur collaborating with Michael Farren, Don Poythress, Michael Neale, Steve Merkel and Jonathan Lane.
I found the lyrics delightfully Psalm-based, firmly God focused and very congregational friendly.
Where Could I Go
A punchy 6/8 song of praise declaring the omnipresence of God, “Where Could I Go” is a strong opening song for this record.
King of Glory
Wilbur puts his own twist to the verses from Psalm 24 (“Lift up your heads be lifted up”) and gives us an up-tempo, super catchy and very joyful song.
I loved this on first listen—it’s a really cool song to add to your set-list if you’re a worship leader.
Lechu Neranena L’adonai
It’s with the third song that I was reminded this is a Wilbur album after all!
While lyrics need some study to understand, the contemporary feel in the arrangements continue along with the Israeli lyrics and instruments.
And the chorus rocks!
The Shadow of El Shaddai
Lyrically, we find lots of Psalm 91 influence here—another punchy 6/8 song proclaiming our dependence on God for everything.
I especially enjoyed the sweet acoustic guitar work that supports the lyrics nicely on this one.
Blessed is He Who Comes
This is an easy-to-learn song about our faith in Christ and the hope that we have as we wait for Him to come again.
“Blessed is He Who Comes” will be a nice addition to Palm Sunday worship set-lists too.
The title track is a quiet affirmation of God’s enduring goodness through every season of our lives.
Loved these lines from the bridge:
From generation, to generation
You’ve been our hope Lord
And our salvation
We say with Heaven and all creation
We’re not alone here, we’re not forsaken
“Forever Good” is a singable, God centered song with an infectious chorus.
Call on the Name
This is a rallying cry to put our trust in the Name of the Lord. A necessary reminder that He is all we need for every need.
And I bet you can’t stop singing these lines:
Lord Jehovah, Abba Father
You are the Great I AM
For every need there is a name
Call on the name of the Lord
How Great is Your Faithfulness
Wilbur’s uncanny ability to help us behold Christ through the Old Testament continues throughout the album and this song is no exception.
“How Great is Your Faithfulness” is a mid-tempo celebration of the salvation that we have, through the work of the Son of God.
Power Belongs to You
Oozing with Old Testament centric lyrics, “Power Belongs to You” features interesting chord choices that help intensify a congregational chorus that’s already strong by itself.
The album closes with this anthem, themed on the majesty of our God.
The “Holy, holy, holy” bridge seemed the most appropriate lyrics to bring this collection of worship songs to an end.
Thoughts about the album
When listening for the first time, the musical style did catch me off guard—lyrically, it’s the Wilbur we have heard before—but the arrangements… whoa! It’s unlike any other of his work I am familiar with. The style, arrangements… even his voice… everything seemed so different (in a good way)!
This is Paul Wilbur 2.0—modernized and even reinvented in ways. While this album should also easily appeal to those hooked to Bethel, Passion, Baloche, Tomlin, Redman etc. I am not that sure if his older fanbase will appreciate it as easily.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the album—if you’re looking for God-exalting songs with straightforward Biblical lyrics that don’t need any interpreting to understand, you should definitely check out “Forever Good”.
For more information, visit Paul Wilber’s ministry website or follow him on Twitter, @paulwilburmin.