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!

Book cover of Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord?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.

Book details
Music resources
Study resources

Launch Party!

You’re invited to join my jig of joy, at an online party on Facebook, Saturday, August 19, 2017, 3:00–9:00 PM (unless I’m too busy gabbing to watch the clock) Eastern Time.
Because it’s an online event, you can “attend” anywhere in the world, rain or shine. Feel free to wear your jammies if it’s past your bedtime—no one will notice. 😀

Wondering what kind of festivities might happen at an online book launch party?

  • Chat with me and the other revelers via posts, comments, and replies on the Facebook event page
  • Fun games and quizzes
  • Ask the Author—You get to ask me questions about the book content, the cover and interior designs, the songs, the indie publishing process, my other projects, my plans for world domination . . .  whatever you’re curious about.
  • Exclusive goodies, including audio chapters narrated by the author
  • All the cyber-snacks you can eat. Zero calories!
  • And, of course, a little shameless book promotion, such as excerpts from the book, music clips, and quotes from Amazon reviews (5 stars—woohoo!).

Speaking of shameless book promotion . . .

August 16–22 Launch Week Book Discounts!

Launch Week Discount on paperback edition of Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord⇒ Launch Week Paperback Special

Save 50% (yep, half-price!) on the print edition of Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord?Meditations on Calvary, with discount code 2AMYN3SP.

This deal is offered only on books ordered direct from CreateSpace (my printer), not from Amazon. (Eliminating Amazon’s commission and most of the author royalty makes the 50% discount possible.)

Plan ahead and order now during Launch Week, to save $$ on multiple copies for your study group.

Launch Week Special price on Kindle books by Linda Bonney Olin⇒ Launch Week Kindle Special

99¢ (£.99 UK) buys a Kindle edition of these Lent/Easter books on Amazon:

No Kindle? No problem! Amazon provides free apps (=software) to read Kindle ebooks on most any digital reading device.

As you can see from my extravagant use of exclamation points, I am excited! Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord? Meditations on Calvary will draw readers and listeners closer to our Lord. What could be more exciting?

See you at the party! Just click to enter the Facebook event page on Saturday, August 19, 3:00–9:00 PM Eastern Time. Feel free to go there ahead of time to check for advance posts and invite friends you think would be interested. The more, the merrier!

Blessings,
Linda

 

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

 

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

 

Greet Your Savior~A New Faith Song for an Old Tune

Greet Your Savior by Linda Bonney OlinThe Christmas song titled “Greet Your Savior” celebrates Jesus’ arrival with gusto! My words are set to the tune of “The Old Rugged Cross,” a popular old-time hymn.

“Greet Your Savior” shows how new words can give a surprisingly different sound to a familiar tune. Part of the difference, of course, comes from singing it at a perkier tempo than you’d sing the contemplative lyrics of “The Old Rugged Cross.”

But a clever lyricist has other, less obvious, ways to influence the feel of a tune, without modifying the music one bit. I’ll let you in on a few of them, using OLD RUGGED CROSS as an example. Continue reading

Songs for the Lord~Free Days

Cover of Songs for the Lord by Linda Bonney Olin

My first-born book, Songs for the Lord, is free on Amazon, starting today through Saturday, December 5, 2015. It contains “sheet music” and companion Bible verses for twenty-four original hymns and faith songs. Although you are buying a Kindle book, it also contains instructions for downloading a PDF file to print the sheet music on ordinary paper.

The songs cover a wide variety of styles, from traditional hymns to musical prayers to hand-clapping bluegrass gospel, even a humorous piece or two. You might not like them all, but I hope you’ll find one or two songs, at least, that you enjoy. Regardless of the music, every song and its companion Bible verses make fresh devotional reading.

SATB parts and/or accompaniments for the melodies in Songs for the Lord are still under construction. I’ve also rewritten a few of those songs, setting them to music written by other people. Buyers of the book are welcome to contact me to see if I have an accompaniment or new musical setting for your favorite song.

Since publishing Songs for the Lord, my Holy Ghostwriter and I have moved to different kinds of writing. I still love to write faith songs, but now I almost always create new lyrics for existing music instead of original melodies. You can see some of my new titles, and hear the tunes I selected for them, on the Faith Songs Audio page.

If you’re a new friend here at Faith Songs, you might enjoy the backstory in earlier posts: how a musical know-nothing (me!) came to write songs in the first place (“Writing Songs for the Lord“), how and why I published my first twenty-four songs as a Kindle book (“To the Ends of the Earth”), and a few things I’ve learned about the Lord along the way (“Confidence in the Prophecy”).

If you’d like to try your hand at writing new hymn texts for existing tunes, check out my related posts in the Writing Craft category.

But first, go snag your copy of Songs for the Lord, FREE through December 5!

Merry Christmas!
Linda

 

James the Brother of Jesus ~ Transformed Again

unbeliefJesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Mark 6:1–6 (NLT)

As I prepared my sermon, songs, and prayers to go along with Mark 6:1–6, James the brother of Jesus struck me as the ideal “poster boy” for that Sunday’s topic of belief/unbelief. Not only was James mentioned by name in this scripture passage, but verses scattered throughout the New Testament reveal his transformation from unbelieving brother to ardent believer.

When I fill in for the pastor, I like to bring new music or a bit of drama (the good kind!) to the worship service. Why not a guest appearance by “James”? I’d already written a play in which James tells his faith story on a cutthroat TV talk show. But that was an edgy, half-hour musical comedy. To fit into a worship service, “James the Brother of Jesus, Transformed” needed a major transformation of its own.

Goodbye, comic characters! So long, songs! See ya later, subplot!

Trimming the dialogue to a straightforward, ten-minute interview perfectly suited my “Late to Faith” message.

Book cover, James the Brother of Jesus, Transformed by Linda Bonney OlinIn fact, the interview format is so versatile that I went the extra mile and added this version of the script to my books James the Brother of Jesus, Transformed and Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas. The updated editions are now “live” on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace.com (my paperback printer). For information about the Transformed series, click here.

FREE bonus resources!

Let’s go an extra two miles! For a limited time, buyers of either book can receive a copy of my Mark 6:16 worship plan and resources:

  • Bulletin (modified)
  • Hymn selections for congregational singing
  • Call to worship, drawn from my song lyrics “Faith Isn’t Just a State of Mind” (I’ll throw in the sheet music for good measure)
  • Unison prayer
  • Scripture readings
  • Musical meditation for soloist, “Peering into Faith’s Foggy Window” (sheet music & mp3 accompaniment file of the tune PICARDY) You can play the mp3 accompaniment file to help you learn the song; or burn it onto a CD if you don’t have a live accompanist. Note that the sheet music is in F; the mp3 is in G flat to accommodate a lower vocal range.
  • Youth message
  • Sermon
  • Benediction

To request your free bonus bundle, forward your purchase confirmation email from Amazon or CreateSpace to Linda@LindaBonneyOlin(dot)com, and ask for “Unbelief Resources” in the body of your email.

Book cover, Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas by Linda Bonney OlinNow, my Holy Ghostwriter and I could use your help getting the word out to churches, small groups, and individuals who might enjoy using the Transformed Bible-based dramas for performance, reading, and/or discussion. Please mention my books to your pastor or worship leader. Better yet, order them a gift copy. Christmas is just around the corner!

And, as always, your prayer supported is greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much!
Linda

P.S. 11/19/2015 All five of the single script ebooks in the Transformed series, including James the Brother of Jesus, Transformed, will be on KDP FREE DAYS promotion starting Friday, November 20 through Tuesday, November 24. Details and more giveaways on my post Tis the Season for Gift-Giving.

 

My Father and Your Father

Come Dance with Me, verse 3 by Linda Bonney Olin“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:17

Father. Abba.

Jesus addressed God this way in his prayers. His father, his daddy, who loved him dearly. Who told people that he was “well pleased” with his son. Who gave him instructions, and was there to support him as he carried them out. Then stepped back, leaving him to accomplish his greatest task on his own, trusting in his obedience.

Isn’t that the essence of any father-child relationship?

Godly fathers love, protect, guide, and empower their sons and daughters to become the fullest and best men and women they can be. But even if our human fathers fail, Jesus says very clearly that his Father God is our Father God too.

Yes, we too can run to God, crying, “Abba, Father!” God the Father has taught us how to live, and he stands ready to support us. And he steps back, giving us freedom of choice when it’s time to obey. I cherish that notion of my relationship with him.

Sadly, God the Father is being evicted from hymn lyrics these days

(along with “oppressive” references to his sovereignty, like Lord, throne, reign, and kingdom). “Inclusive language” that excludes masculine images and favors genderless or feminine terms for the deity is the order of the day. Masculine pronouns for God must be replaced with its or her, or else be eliminated altogether by repeating the noun, even if the resulting lyrics sound bloated and unnatural. The use of traditional collective words like man (which is tough to replace with a unisex lyrical equivalent, by the way) has been known to provoke accusations of indifference to—even participation in—the denigration and abuse of women.

Continue reading