Meditations on Calvary~Book Launch

 

In 2016, Harpursville United Methodist Church and Nineveh Presbyterian Church hosted my new Lenten devotional series based on the old spiritual “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.” Each weekly session explored the experiences of people who were present when Jesus Christ was arrested and executed, plus a few who were conspicuously absent. Those scriptures, songs, and meditations touched hearts. So I resolved to bring the series to a wider audience in book form.

It’s finally here!

Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord? Meditations on Calvary is now live on Amazon, in both Kindle and paperback editions. Companion resources for readers, presenters, and musicians are ready for free download here on Faith Songs, too.

Were You There book coverBook details
Music resources
Study resources

 

 

 

 

Blessings,
Linda
(Post edited 11/6/17)

 

Faith Songs for Eye and Ear on YouTube

Title page of YouTube video for O Lord Whose Touch Once Made Me Whole by Linda Bonney OlinMy Holy GhostWriter is no slouch when it comes to using technology for music and ministry. I’m a little slower on the uptake. But I did manage to learn the basics of creating and uploading YouTube videos. Now you will be able to sample some of the hymns and faith songs I’ve written since Songs for the Lord came out five years ago.

I’m delighted to feature Theresa Olin, aka Diva Daughter, singing while my lyrics are displayed onscreen. Her voice is a treat. She sings first soprano with the Houston Symphony Chorus, for which she has served as section leader, and with smaller choral groups, including Houston Camerata. (Diva Daughter is the slim brunette in the middle of the back row in Houston Camerata’s group picture.)

We had time to record only a few songs during Theresa’s Christmas visit. But I hope to travel to Texas, with digital voice recorder in hand, when time and my husband’s health allow. (Bill is still recuperating from injuries he suffered in a farm accident last September; that’s why I haven’t had time to post here in the past several months.)

Meanwhile, I have another sacrificial lamb almost ready to throw on the altar. Er … that is to say, I have another highly talented singer who has volunteered to record some vocals for my mini-videos. So more samples of my work will be coming along soon.

If you’d like to be notified when I upload a new video on YouTube, please subscribe to the Linda Bonney Olin channel. Signing up is simple, and it’s free, of course. I don’t “monetize” my videos, so you won’t be plagued by ads when you try to hear my songs.

I appreciate “likes” and comments and shares on YouTube—on Facebook and Twitter, too. Your responses help bring my work to the attention of other listeners. Thank you!

Link to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/lindabonneyolin

Links to the individual songs I’ve uploaded so far:

I hope you enjoy them all. Please leave your two cents’ worth in a comment. I need all the encouragement I can get. ♥

O Lord, Whose Touch Once Made Me Whole is one of three songs I wrote for Mary Magdalene’s monologue, Mary Magdalene, Transformed. Don’t forget to check out Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas and my other Bible study and drama books for the Lent/Easter season: Giving It Up for Lent and The Sacrifice Support Group. Ash Wednesday is right around the corner!

Blessings,
Linda

 

Angels on Earth? I Wonder…

“You’re an angel!”

Usually those words mean, “You’re an extremely kind, helpful person.”

Person as in human being, not a supernatural entity. Someone who shows up just when we need a helping hand. Sent by God, perhaps, but human nonetheless.

The Bible suggests that a fair number of people could have exclaimed, “You’re an angel!” and meant those words literally. Angels showed up in dreams and in broad daylight, to help and warn and encourage. Of course, those encounters happened thousands of years ago.

Are they still happening? Well, why not here? Why not now?

I wonder …

(If the YouTube title and controls get in your way while the video is playing, move your cursor away from the image and they should disappear.)

Don’t forget to read the scripture verses referenced on each page of “I Wonder, Do Angels Still March.” You can look up passages online and choose from a number of different translations at BibleGateway.com.

There are more angel visitations recorded in the Bible besides these. But six verses were plenty for one song!

For the Christmas season, “I Wonder, Do Angels Still Sing” looks at angel appearances that surrounded the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s set to the same tune (ST CLEMENT by Clement Scholefield).

I hope you enjoy these mini music videos. My Holy GhostWriter keeps pushing me to learn new ways to share our work. Today, it was Moviemaker and YouTube. What’s next?

I wonder …

Please drop a comment to share your thoughts and experiences about angels among us. And let me know what you think of the YouTube video presentations.

Blessings,
Linda

 

Facing Deployment? You’re Not Alone

Lord, Though I Travel Afar, prayer hymn by Linda Bonney Olin

The Lord’s arms stretch wide enough to hold you close—you and the dear ones you had to leave behind—no matter how many miles or months separate you.

You have no family or friends eagerly waiting to welcome you home from deployment? Remember, you and the Lord are always a family of two. Everywhere you go, the Lord is there.

Psalms 139:1–12.

Please share the picture on social media and give a copy of “Lord, Though I Travel Afar” to someone you know who is away from home on military duty or missionary assignment. Let’s send our love and prayer support to all the men and women who are making such a sacrifice to help secure freedom from oppression around the world.

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. As you may have guessed, “Lord, Though I Travel Afar” is a prayer set to music. The tune I chose is ITALIAN HYMN.  MIDI      MP3

I hope you enjoy singing it as well as praying the words, especially the distinctive four-note phrase that boldly proclaims the third line of each stanza. That’s my favorite part!

Lord, Though I Travel Afar

Lord, though I travel afar,
where I go, you already are.
I’m not alone!
In every strange new place,
upheld by faith and grace,
I shall find strength to face
any unknown.

Lord, as I sail stormy seas,
your presence sets my soul at ease.
I can be brave
with my all-knowing guide
always close by my side,
till I have safe arrived
through wind and wave.

Lord of the turbulent heights,
your pow’r and love surround my flights.
With you I soar
high above everything,
as on an eagle’s wing!
Filled with your peace, I sing,
fearful no more.

Lord, when you call me to roam,
leaving my dearest ones at home,
I trust your care.
You will watch over them:
love, comfort, and defend
till I come home again.
You will be there.

—Linda Bonney Olin
© 2016 Linda Bonney Olin

 

Store Up and Serve Up God’s Bounty

Photo of scripture verses stored in a canning jar

A special greeting to The Upper Room readers who are visiting Faith Songs for the first time. Welcome!

They read the Book of God’s Teachings clearly and explained the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.
—Nehemiah 8:8, GW

I’m delighted to have a meditation, “Store Up God’s Word,” published today (May 21, 2016) in The Upper Room, which is my church’s daily devotional guide. It has numerous editions translated for a worldwide audience. It’s also the resource I favor for my personal devotion time.

Don’t subscribe to The Upper Room? No problem. They post the daily devos online. Check out the related pictures on Link2Life and my guest post on the blog, too. Please leave a comment, if you’re so inclined. I’d love to know what your favorite scripture verses and hymns are. If you look closely at the photo above, you might spot a few of my favorites peeking out of the canning jar.

(After May 21, my devo will be archived on the Upper Room website. You can still find it, by entering my name in the Search box. You’ll need to sign in before you can post a comment or read the whole of an archived devo, but signing up is a free formality.)

Off the shelf and onto my plate

“No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house.”
—Matthew 5:15, GNT

In my guest blog post, I mentioned that the Lord has assigned me to serve up the encouragement, guidance, and challenge I’ve stored up from his Word. Lots of people are hungry for it, that’s for sure. So, my Holy GhostWriter has kept me busy, cooking up Bible studies, Bible-based dramas, and new hymns.

Right now, I’m working on two book projects:

  • Were You There When They Crucified My Lord will be an informal Bible study inspired by the traditional spiritual of that name. Each session will focus on different individuals or groups who were present at the events surrounding Jesus Christ’s crucifixion—or conspicuous by their absence. New songs (a mix of group, solo, and duet) will help explore the spotlight characters’ experiences.
  • My second book of hymns and faith songs will offer sheet music and a scripture index for 60-80 of the new texts (AKA lyrics) I’ve written in the past several years. Most will be congregational hymns, all set to existing tunes. I’m also considering adding a section of “specials”: pieces that are better suited to a soloist or an SATB ensemble.

As you can imagine, formatting that many scores, laying out pages, and creating scripture indexes for a hymn book is a massive undertaking. I couldn’t persevere through these tedious and hair-tearing tasks without my posse of prayer warriors. ♥ Please join them, holding me and my work in your prayers.

And if you’d like to be notified by email when my upcoming books are released or one of my hymns is published in another hymnal (I’m thinking positive here!) or other news happens, please use my contact form to request that.

Six years to simmer

Woe  to those who say, “Let him make haste,
    let him speed his work that we may see it;
let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfillment,
    that we may know it!”
—Isaiah 5:19–21, NRSV

Short meditations are a wonderful way to share the riches of God’s Word, but writing them requires plenty of perseverance, too. Getting my first piece onto a page in The Upper Room has been a long-term effort—six years, to be exact!

The Upper Room magazine pageMy first submissions were handed back to me faster than an order of soda and fries. Then a few survived a little longer in the evaluation process. Then one made it all the way to the final round (yay!) before being axed (boo!).

I reworked the rejects and sent the new and improved versions to other devotional publications. Most of them found a home at Judson Press’s daily devo magazine The Secret Place (“Never Out of Sight” is coming up on June 17 in the Summer 2016 issue) and Penned from the Heart. Meanwhile, I kept honing my writing skills and submitting new work to The Upper Room.

Finally, good news arrived: “Store Up God’s Word” was accepted for publication.

 

Grab your spatula—er, pen

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
—Isaiah 52:7, NIV

Want to try your hand at serving up devotions to the world? Scope out the writers guidelines at The Upper Room and other devotional magazines that appeal to you. You often can find them by Googling the magazine title or its publisher’s name plus “writers guidelines” or “submission guidelines” in quotes. If you can attend a writers conference where a devotions editor is holding a workshop, jump at the chance. A representative of The Upper Room I met at Montrose Christian Writers Conference offered extremely helpful presentations and individual critiques.

The beauty of serving up our stored-up scriptures, in whatever form the Lord assigns you, is that the supply remaining in storage never diminishes! All the verses we open and share are still ready to use when our own need arises, perfectly preserved and just as fresh as the day God inspired them. Thank you, Lord!

Bon appétit!
Linda

 

New Footprints on Your Life

My Footprints on Your Life (for KELVINGROVE) by Linda Bonney Olin

This week marked the first anniversary of my dad’s reunion with his wife, elder daughter, and other cherished family in heaven. My friend Carol lost her mother this week too. So I decided to give photographer Edgaras Melsiskis’s lovely seagull another flight, this time carrying the updated words to “My Footprints on Your Life.”

Just as footprints on a sandy beach are constantly wiped away by the tide and replaced by fresh imprints, song lyrics can be renewed with new musical settings. “My Footprints on Your Life” was first published with an original melody in Songs for the Lord. I’ve recently adapted it for the tune DIVINE MYSTERIES and my personal favorite, KELVINGROVE. You can hear both settings on the Audio page, but here’s a handy link to listen to KELVINGROVE while you read the lyrics. (My audio is melody-only, because John Bell‘s lovely harmonization is copyrighted.)

My Footprints on Your Life

May my footprints on your heart be deep but gently laid
and remembrance of my presence never fully fade.
May your heart be ever warmed
by the bond of love we formed
and be comforted by sacred memories we made.

May my footprints on your mind inspire and challenge you
to search earnestly for what is just and what is true.
As you meet life’s twists and turns,
may the echo of my words
help you find the righteous way and guide you safely through.

May my footprints on your soul lead you to realms divine
like a treasure map to heaven I have left behind
in the hope one day you’ll be
with our Father God and me,
living joyfully again, together for all time.

Look inside yourself and see
marks that bind, yet set you free,
after I have said goodbye: my footprints on your life.

The footprints left behind by our loved ones aren’t washed away by the next big wave. If we’re fortunate, their marks, along with those of the Lord Jesus, will comfort us, inspire us, and ultimately lead us to our own reunion in the “realms divine.”

Blessings to you who mourn,
Linda

 

Pick ’Em Up and Move ’Em

Pick your feet up and move!

How often has someone at a writers conference said she hasn’t started actually writing anything yet, because she isn’t sure exactly what the Lord wants her to write?

Are you standing paralyzed on the brink of a career choice, afraid to take a step until you’re absolutely, positively sure what God has in mind for you?

Hmm… Maybe while you’re waiting on God, God is waiting on YOU.

Yes, pray for guidance. But don’t stop there. Pick up your feet, or your pen, or whatever tool of your trade you need, and move it! You might be surprised at the direction the Lord takes you in, once you show your commitment with a bit of action.

I’m adding my prayers to yours, right now. 🙂

Blessings,
Linda

 

Yes! Today!

Yes, today!

Are you wasting time and energy mourning capabilities and opportunities you’ve lost?

Still moping about all the great things you could have accomplished, “if only …”?

Today, list and celebrate the gifts the Lord is giving you NOW. Start using them to create something that will be great, if only you’ll get busy and do it!

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Blessings,
Linda

 

New Year, New Ideas

Start hatching a new project

A reminder for my fine-feathered friends who need a little motivation to turn their writing-for-publication dreams into reality:

  • If you never start writing the first draft, you’ll never finish the manuscript.
  • If you never finish it, you’ll never submit it.
  • If you never submit it, you’ll never publish it.
  • If you never publish it, no one will ever read it.
  • If no one ever reads it … you, and your could-have-been readers, and the Lord who gave you the dream, will all miss out.

Same goes for all the other kinds of projects you’re still sitting on, writing-related and otherwise.

So don’t just sit there. Start hatching!

What are my new ideas?

  • Compile and publish a book of my hymn lyrics set to existing hymn tunes. I’ve got about 75 new ones, ready to get kicked out of the nest.
  • Develop a book and video tutorial to help other poets try their hands at writing hymn texts and setting their verse to music.
  • Finish my Christmas Eve cantata. That project’s been incubating for over ten years!
  • Last, but not least, do whatever my Holy GhostWriter scribbles on my to-do list.

What new projects are you hatching for the new year? Please share in a comment!

Blessings,
Linda