Paul Wilbur Live Recordings – A Review

I love to put on a live worship album and just let it play through. The early concert recordings of Paul Wilbur are among my favorites. These were some of the first Messianic CD’s I ever listened to, and I still enjoy them very much today.

Shalom Jerusalem (1995) was recorded live in Jerusalem around the time of Passover with about 3,000 worshippers present. It and opens with a medley of a beautiful violin rendition of Jerusalem of Gold played by Maurice Skylar combined with the traditional Ma Tovu. For an upbeat Israeli dance medley with modern praise songs, the sequence of Shouts of Joy/Sing for Joy to the Lord/Roni, Roni, Bat Zion is great. And for traditional Hebrew folk music, Hinei Ma Tov is perfect for dancing while a longer rendition of the Ma Tovu is performed between my favorite intimate worship selections on this album, Baruch Haba (Blessed is He Who Comes) and In Your Presence, O God.

Holy Fire (1997) was recorded live in Houston with a little less of a Hebraic flavor to the music. These are songs of revival, and some of my friends have called this the most powerful of Paul Wilbur’s early albums. It opens with the title song, and includes similar songs like Let Your Fire Fall, The Fire of Your Love, and Burn In Me – all earnest prayers for the Holy Spirit to completely consume the worshipper in the Refiner’s fire. This, of course, can only happen when Yeshua reigns in our lives, looking forward to the time when He reigns over all the earth, the focus of Jesus Chris is Lord and He Shall Reign. My favorite selection on this album is Arise O Lord, written by Paul Wilbur and based on Psalm 3.

Jerusalem Arise (1999), also recorded live in Jerusalem, is favorite Paul Wilbur album. It begins with energetic praise, many of the lyrics coming straight from the Psalms. This is another great Israeli dance medley with Let God Arise, It Is Good and Roni, Roni, Bat Zion (first recorded on Shalom Jerusalem). The end of the song list is one of the deepest, most intimate worship sequences I have ever heard, beginning with Let the Weight of Your Glory Fall, flowing into For Your Name is Holy and then a beautiful rendition of Kadosh (Holy). The concert ends with the popular triumphant anthem Days of Elijah, uniquely tied back into a reprise of Kadosh. Paul Wilbur’s very personal style invites you to join him in worship.

Lion Of Judah (2001) is again recorded live in Jerusalem. These songs focus around the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot or Pentecost. Come Let’s Go Up To The Mountain (from Suzy Wills and Matthew Donovan of Morningstar Ministries) takes you up the Mountain of the Lord where the Torah is taught. This is followed by the song Yahweh (my favorite Leonard Jones song, also from Morningstar Ministries) which brings the Glory of the Lord back down to the streets for the final restoration. Keeping with this theme is the final segment Show Me Your Face, the chorus of In Your Presence O God, Dance With Me and Even So. The worship event ends with Robin Mark’s Lion of Judah. OK, I said Jerusalem Arise was my favorite Paul Wilbur CD, but Lion of Judah sure runs a close second.

These early live recordings by Paul Wilbur will never grow old. He has recorded other live albums since, including The Watchman (2005) recorded live in San Antonio and A Night of Extravagant Worship (2008) recorded in Jacksonville, featuring one of my favorite vocalists Matthew Ward from Second Chapter of Acts singing backup. I love live worship albums, and Paul Wilbur’s albums seem to have a strong anointing that leads you into the presence of Almighty God.

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