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Chris Tomlin – Holy Forever

Chris Tomlin – Holy Forever

Chris Tomlin
  • We’ve been partnering with Chris for several decades and we know and respect his pure heart for worshiping God. So, when he says something like “this hit me as a worship leader,” we sit up and pay attention.

A Song of Deliverance vs Transcendence

We’ve been partnering with Chris for several decades and we know and respect his pure heart for worshiping God. So, when he says something like “this hit me as a worship leader,” we sit up and pay attention. This Worship Sound Bite has incredible insights for worship songwriters and artists about what the Holy Spirit is doing right now in worship music.

It’s always amazing to be reminded of the greater story, isn’t it? There’s a song in heaven right now and angels and praising God singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and our hope and prayer for this song and this album is that it will open up the heavens and bring that song down for the rest of us to experience here on earth. 

Revelation 4:6-8:

and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

Holy Forever: An Anchor of Worship and Transcendence

Chris Tomlin offered a profound glimpse into the heart of his latest song, “Holy Forever.” This piece, which he describes as the anchor and center of his newest album, captures a pivotal moment in his journey as a worship leader and songwriter. Tomlin’s reflections provide a deep well of insight, both into his creative process and the broader landscape of worship music.

Tomlin begins by acknowledging the importance of collaboration and mentorship in his work. He recounts a conversation with a trusted friend and mentor, someone whose knowledge of Scripture and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit he deeply respects. This dialogue led to a powerful revelation about the nature of worship music, one that Tomlin felt compelled to share with fellow worship leaders.

The conversation distilled worship music into two distinct but equally essential lanes: songs of deliverance and songs of transcendence. This framework, Tomlin explains, is both simple and profound, offering clarity for worship leaders seeking to understand and articulate the purpose of their ministry.

Songs of Deliverance

Songs of deliverance are those that cry out for God’s help, mercy, and grace. They are the heartfelt pleas for rescue and redemption that resonate deeply within the human soul. Tomlin points out that the Psalms are replete with such songs, reflecting the universal need for God’s intervention in our lives. He cites “Amazing Grace” as a quintessential example, a song that has provided comfort and assurance to countless believers through its message of God’s unfathomable grace.

In his own catalog, Tomlin has penned many songs of deliverance, each one a testament to the power of calling upon the Lord in times of need. These songs serve as a reminder that God is always near, ready to save and sustain us through life’s trials.

Songs of Transcendence

In contrast, songs of transcendence elevate us beyond our immediate circumstances, drawing our focus to the grandeur and holiness of God. These are the songs that inspire awe and reverence, compelling us to worship with a sense of wonder at the majesty of our Creator. Tomlin describes these songs as those that make us want to fall on our faces and declare “holy, holy, holy,” akin to the effect of the timeless hymn of the same name.

“Songs of transcendence remind us of the greater story, the narrative of God’s glory that spans eternity and encompasses all of creation,” Tomlin explains.

They are not about our needs or struggles, but about the divine reality that far exceeds our understanding. These songs transform the atmosphere, shifting our perspective from the temporal to the eternal.

Holy Forever: A Song of Transcendence

“Holy Forever,” according to Tomlin, embodies the essence of transcendence. It is a song that directs our gaze heavenward, inviting us to participate in the eternal chorus of praise that surrounds God’s throne. When Tomlin shared this song with his mentor, the response was immediate and affirming: “This is it, man. This is what it’s all about.”

In “Holy Forever,” listeners are drawn into a space of profound worship, where the focus is solely on the holiness and majesty of God. The song serves as a reminder of the greater story, the divine narrative that calls us to worship not just for what God has done for us, but for who He is.

“My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7

Tomlin’s insights challenge us to embrace both lanes of worship in our ministry. As worship leaders, we are called to provide songs that both cry out for God’s deliverance and exalt His transcendence. Each type of song fulfills a crucial role in the life of the church, helping believers to navigate the full spectrum of their spiritual journey.

In closing, Tomlin’s reflections on “Holy Forever” and the dual lanes of worship offer a powerful reminder of our calling as worship leaders. We are invited to lead our congregations into deeper encounters with God, whether through songs of deliverance that speak to our need for His grace or songs of transcendence that lift our eyes to His glory.

May we, like Chris Tomlin, continue to seek God’s guidance in our songwriting and worship leading, always striving to create spaces where His presence is known and His name is exalted.

Here’s Phil Wickam Singing Holy Forever


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