No Prisoners

stuff13 021

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 ESV

Love, as God’s gift to us,
is not merely decoration,
and not in league with money,
cares nothing for our station.

Love whispers confidently.
It has no need to be loud.
It radiates confidence
without the bluster of the proud.

When it enters a room
it becomes the natural center.
It is attractive without insisting,
force not being its nature.

Love is always active,
dispersing darkness with its light.
It’s the warmth of a healing fire
when we’re surrounded by the night.

Love mostly eludes definition
giving without being owned.
The food of all good growing,
the harvest of all good grown.

But love defined itself best
as the Son of God on Calvary’s tree,
when instead of taking prisoners
love set the captives free.

© Joel Tipple

Net Worth?


What part does social media play in your life?
Hey there, look at me!
In this world likes are the coin of the realm,
but is that any way to be?

What’s real? Do you have to remind yourself?
What’s real to you? Actual relationships, or your 2,053 “friends?”
What’s real? Is life really about your digital platform?
Don’t lose track of what’s genuine and what’s pretend.
What’s real?

Are your words on the net a means or an end?
Do you consider what it means to be a friend?
Are you content with superficial content?
It’s all worth considering before you hit send.

© Joel Tipple

Person in the Pew


Dear person in the pew in front of me,
I’ve got a problem with my vision,
not because you’re six-foot-three.
It’s not anything about you, person in the pew,
it’s what’s inside of me. Don’t move.

I need to be
centered in God,
right in line.
Fed by love that’s grown on the vine.
Feeding other believers as they feed me
and seeing what God sees.
I’ve got to move.

I can’t sit around and wait until I’m more spiritual,
or whatever it is that I think I’m not.
Newton’s first law of motion’s
conflict with my emotions
has to stop.
It’s gotta stop.

Centered in God,
right in line.
Fed by love that’s grown on the vine.
Feeding other believers as they feed me
and starting to see what God sees.
I have to move.

That habit of independence,
that lie I believed,
that a lone ranger Christian
is just as or more free
restricted my use in the body of Christ
and hobbled what God could do with me.
Then I moved.

Centered in God,
right in line.
Fed by love that’s grown on the vine.
Feeding other believers as they feed me
and starting to see what God sees.
On the move.

Meeting face to face in a small group
and not treating church like entertainment I subscribe to.
Instead of holding up point scores for sermons every Sunday,
I’m now a functioning part of the body.
Hey brother in the front pew,
turn around.
I’m glad to know you.

© Joel Tipple

The Body


God, do you need me?
I’ve been wondering lately.
I’ve read I have a part to play,
but it just isn’t clear to me.

Trust in me, child. The body needs you.
If you listen and obey, I’ll show you how I choose.
The vision won’t seem clear, not certain from the start,
but a plant of faith has taken root in the soil of your heart.

But what about my limitations?
God, you don’t even know!
If I don’t have faith in me, how can you tell me it’s so?
That I can be of some use in the body of Christ?
Are you sure I’m not just a broken device?

Pick up your bible, child.
Read of great women and men.
They often failed at the beginning, but achieved great ends.
Then look closely at the other folks who were used in support.
Without them the endings would be quite different sorts.

Stepping out now, I choose to move and serve.
If I just take without giving, it’s his body I hurt.
God already chose me, the plan in place from the start.
It’s not all clear to me yet, but I can see the better part.

© Joel Tipple

God is not my Hobby

You said:
“It’s nice you go to church.”
You said, “I guess some folks need that. Good for You!”
But, you said it’s just not what you’re into.
and on Sundays you have other things to do.

God is not my hobby.
He didn’t save me to be
just another warm church body
with sanctimonious knees.
God is not my hobby, please.
I didn’t give myself to him
for a sky box in heaven front row seat.
Just sit here a moment with me,
and we’ll talk about the real Jesus scene.
Cause God is not… he’s surely not
my hobby.

You said:
“Religious people are hypocrites. I know some of the people who go to your church.
They aren’t who you think they are.”

God is not my hobby.
You need to check it out with me.
God loves my whole church body.
Though we don’t always behave perfectly.
Real people with real problems,
the need for forgiveness, and a new life,
they’re our friends and neighbors
and to grow we all strive.
No, God is not… he’s certainly not
my hobby.

Then you said,
“I have a really hard time believing this is going to last.
People try to lose weight. They try to give up bad habits.
They fail! How can I put my trust in a god who lets that happen?”

Well, the thing is:
God is not my hobby,
and the word promises me
he won’t leave or forsake me,
though he knows everything.
He loves me as I am
but loves me too much to leave me that way.
God is not… I’m so happy he’s not
just a hobby.

© Joel Tipple