That’s what negative labels produce.
They’re intended to ostracize and belittle
those the speaker thinks of less use.
They may bind one to another, with the intimacy of a cause,
but one hand clapping another’s is a suspect form of applause.

The great frustration I feel
when I hear a label applied
is due to what I perceive
as the thunderous sickening sound of the closing of a mind.
They are words intended to separate instead of bringing together.
They’re intended to convey our differences instead of ways we’re similar.
If we believe we are:
and right,
then we need to stop and think
before acting like taggers in the night.
It takes effort to discover more than what a book’s cover shows.
But if I care to chance being wrong,
it’s worth being exposed to the light.

© Joel Tipple

This Race, this War.


Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,
but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way
that you may win.
1 Corinthians 9:24

I’ve run too far with you Lord,
to risk looking back now.
I’ve trusted you more than my feelings.
These hands hold tightly to your word
for within is the essence of healing.

Each day I expect a battle Lord;
some days I’m a victor, others, bloody and sore.
I’m confident of this always,
as I step out my door,
fights will come and go always,
You Lord, and Your’s have already won the war.

Are You Foolish?


Given a fork in the road,
do you take the path
that is worn smooth?

When you get dressed
do you wear what
get you noticed?

Do you lift your hand
in class
if you

God’s eye is on the brave
and brave is different for
every man
and woman.

There’s freedom
and reward
in stepping out
of the skin
you’ve grown used to.

Don’t assume as far
as you’ve come
is as far as you can

God never runs
out of plans for
We just
stop listening.

In Your Presence

Christ in garden
In Your presence Lord,as we approach the hour of your sacrifice, we’re reminded of how unworthy we are for redemption. That’s just it, isn’t it? We’re not deserving. In so many ways we hope to build ourselves into something worth the struggle, the emotional and physical cataclysm that the earthy shell you inhabited underwent. When we go to war, we know there is a risk that we may die. When you went to war, you knew that you would be captured and die a miserable death. It wasn’t an endurance event. It wasn’t even a suicide mission. It was walking into war with a price on your head. In order to win for us, you had to lose. Triumph over sin would not be achieved without giving everything. Satan tried to get you to throw the whole game by using your powers, but you refused. The whole time you knew! You knew what it would be like to inhabit a human body and endure punishment certain to cause every cell in your body to scream. You allowed no short cuts. Every prophecy was fulfilled. We are forever in your debt, Lord. We bow before you in worship and only ask to be allowed to serve you, while you teach us how to serve each other, humbly, as you taught us.


Shout to God in times of grief
I won’t tell you to hold back
or pretend I know
I don’t

But I’ve been someplace dark before
and the only light I found
to lead me home
was a cross

a place
all bound together with
the greatest sorrow
and joy

where God’s Son
went to die
and claim victory


He said, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me–nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
The physical and emotional pain we can quantify, horrific as it was, but as Jesus took on our sins and became sin, (God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21) the spiritual pain took everything Jesus went through to a new level. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” Matthew 27:46 Take the time when you felt most alone and multiply that by any number you know and it can’t approach the spiritual agony Jesus went through. But we know death was conquered in this unprecedented act. Jesus died, He was buried, He rose again and appeared. His victory became our victory.

The Economy of J.Q. Person

It’s the economy,
John Q. Person.
That’s why you’re busy
messing with your phone.
But is it true that if you looked up
and met the world’s eyes,
the reflection would show
you’re alone?

There’s nothing wrong with money
if you don’t fall in love with it,
but dollars never could heal a man’s soul
Only one power here or heaven
can give you what you’re craving.
Only Jesus Christ can make you whole.

It’s the economy, J.Q.P.
Moths emptied your wallet
and all you do is run in place.
But more money and a better ride
won’t cure the emptiness inside.
Have you considered what may
be at stake?

There’s nothing wrong with money
if you don’t fall in love with it,
but dollars never could heal a man’s soul
Only one power here or heaven
can give you what you’re craving.
Only Jesus Christ can make you whole.

It’s the economy.
You’re vexed
Mr. Person.
Is it the libs
and cons
in D.C.?
At night you lie and wonder,
“would any amount of money
fix what is broken in me?”

Disconnect from the marketing, Person.
Just say no to what’s there for sale.
Learn to meditate on what is for real, son.
Leave alone what all the parrots rail.
Polly wants everything.

There’s nothing wrong with money
if you don’t fall in love with it,
but dollars never could heal a man’s soul
Only one power here or heaven
can give you what you’re craving.
Only Jesus Christ can make you whole.

He cares for you, John Q. Person.
And he’s coming back.

He’s there for you, John Q. Person
And he’s coming back.

He’s not an infomercial, John Q. Person
Yeah, He’s coming back.

Coming back, coming back, Person-ally
Coming back, coming back, Person-ally.

John Q. Person
Introducing, John Q. Person.

The Helper

In John 13, we can imagine the anxiety forming in the minds of the disciples. This time was shortly before the crucifixion and Jesus was preparing them, not only for what was to come in the short term, but later, when the infant church would be put to the test. Imagine yourself in their place. This was the man they had followed and worshiped. They were prepared to do anything for Him. But the prophesies must be fulfilled.

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.” John 13:36-38. It was in the backdrop of what on the surface seems like a shaky start that His church was formed, formed with men like Peter, of whom Jesus said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

Lord, You said you would ask the Father to give us another Helper,
Who would be “the Spirit of truth.”
You said He would be in us
and with us abide.

You said the Holy Spirit would teach us
and help us remember all you said.
You said when You would go,
He would reside.

Thank you, Spirit of God,
for disclosing our Lord’s truth.
How else would we comprehend the mystery.
The revolution that conquered sin,
the ultimate sacrifice that took us in,
prophecy fulfilled on Calvary’s tree.

Search My Heart

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

Search my heart, Lord,
the One who sees no difference
between night and day.
For you they are both alike.
Every hour you see all the same.
When the fog in front of my eyes is so thick
my hands could pull it apart like a veil,
You ask for my faith you will see me through
as though you were trimming my sail.

Search my heart, Lord,
purify, burn away all my dross.
All that I carry that is not of you,
I will not count as loss.
Let me value each day as a gift from you, Lord.
As I submit, let me be a gift too.
Guide my steps toward those hurting,
make the words I pen worthy,
while all in me your spirit renews.


the bully,
waiting to tap you on the shoulder and remind you why he’s there.
He likes to whisper things like:
you can’t,
you won’t,
it’s too hard.
As evidence for his claims he will
use your past against you,
conveniently leaving out that the reason
things went badly was because you
listened to him.
He prefers
the dark
because he knows he doesn’t do well in
the light.
The light causes him to become
small and insignificant.
is his enemy.
is something he would much rather
not be in the same room with.
Words like:
hurt his ears.
Try as he might,
when he digs around in his pockets
for the key
to a home filled with prayer,
unable to find one,
he walks away.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10