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An open letter to Paul Wilbur

On September 25, 2018 Paul Wilbur gave a concert in Jerusalem, created a live recording, and touched many hearts. I was there. He’s been doing this for some 40 years, and we’ve been friends for 37 of those years. I’ve written him this letter to express what happened inside me during the event.

Dear Paul,

You stood before a packed house at the Pavilion, backed by top notch musicians and singers. The air was charged, electric. Then you plunged in, unhesitating, boldly welcoming the Lord to return to the City of the Great King. And as never before, I got it. Anticipating Yeshua’s coming is the heart of your message. How appropriate, especially for this time in history. I realized anew that it’s this anticipation that forms and defines us. “Adonai, Adonai. Every knee will bow to you Lord most High…”

I’m so proud to see you in this place the Lord has given you, to see your years and years of sincere, all-out praise. It’s a place of much influence, giving glory to God in earnest—inspiring multitudes.

Wow! Remember our Friday afternoons at Beth Messiah, those pre-Shabbat prayer times 35 years ago. We’d groan (well, mostly Asher) and jump and yell and fall on our faces before the Lord as He visited our hunger with His presence. There were prophetic moments then—longing to be in this land. And now here we are!

Hearing these songs that move my heart, I’m newly aware of the stark contrast we live with. On one hand there’s the current day-to-day struggle—to see lives transformed by Yeshua’s death-busting atonement. And on the other hand—His coming reign. I’m lifted, strengthened, freshly inspired by the Lord’s voice through yours. The King is coming so soon. And that makes all the difference.

“You’ve captured our hearts…My soul is thirsting for you…the touch of your love.” These lyrics are of intimacy. Mr. Wilbur (as we called you back in the congregational elementary school where we taught together in 1981-84) you remind us of the exceedingly personal dimension of our relationship with the Messiah. It’s not academic. It’s intimate. Through your worship, the transparency of your passion for the Lion who is a Lamb, I am brought back, restored to tenderness.

It’s so tough to stay tender in this harsh world, especially in Israel. This worship experience is a respite from battle. “Your love is better than life…My soul is satisfied with the richness of you.

When you sing about the longing for Yeshua to come it feels as if you are expressing the truest longing for all of us. “Who was and Who is and Who is to come.” As you did back at Beth Messiah Maryland in the 80s—you continue to inspire us to worship the Lord with all our heart. What a journey! I will ever love and deeply appreciate you.

This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, November 8, 2018, and reposted with permission.

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Eitan Shishkoff
Eitan is the Founder and Executive Director of Tents of Mercy Network of Messianic Congregations is Northern Israel. He's a published author, having written "What About Us?", which answers the question about Gentile participation in the restoration of Israel.

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