We are Broken

We are broken for the castaways
and those who think they have it made.
Broken for the dealers
and those who make deals.
Broken for the confident
and for the frightened.
Broken for the arrogant
and for those whose fate is sealed.
If you’ve given it all away,
no one can take it from you.
You might say, “I just feel empty,”
but so seems the desert
before God sends the rain.
Then watch it bloom!

© Joel Tipple

Politicians and Celebrities

I would hope to make the people I actually know
more important than politicians
and celebrities
in my life.

I would rather go to the mat
for Joe or Sam down the street
than a guy being paid to be popular on TV.

If I know the names of your children,
and where they go to school,
shouldn’t I be more interested in them
than in who this week’s magazines have spun to be cool?

So much is artificial,
ultra-refined and designed
but without nutritional value
for the body or the mind.
I just think we should focus
on what’s real instead of buying
the mass market media line.

© Joel Tipple


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

Moving Forward

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal
for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

A mind held to the past
lacks the energy to engage in the now
and what will be.
Endless replaying of foibles and feeble missteps
serves up little more than mud splattered fenders.
God rewards those who seek Him
and a great veil is lifted from our eyes
when we come to accept the freedom gained from surrender.

© Joel Tipple



At the risk of sounding
like an out of touch troglodyte,
I’d like to encourage
connoisseurs of technology
to consider what I say
in spite…
of their love for all things digital.

If the face you pay the most attention to
is really a screen,
you’re at risk for someday looking up
and finding no human beings.

People are difficult,
we’re pretty much all in beta,
and many of us are not that compatible,
and lack the latest updates.

However, though the risks are there,
the rewards for really being present
for the people you know
and don’t know yet,
are greater.

© Joel Tipple

Heaven in Our Hearts

stuff13 018

5 1-5 “For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”
The Message (MSG)

Heaven in our hearts,
a bit of beautiful against a background of despair.
So much is haywire in the world
and it does battle with the question we all carry to the cradle
and forward…
is it fair?

This notion of justice we apply with no schooling,
maybe before we ever speak at all,
have you noticed?
Somehow we know.

In our anguish,
we seemingly hire God
and fire Him
at will.
Evil speaks itself into our world
and our notion of justice
becomes one of proximity.


God is still God,
whether an innocent child
in Belfast,
Des Moines.

Now, that isn’t the typical
winning marketing formula
espoused by Madison Avenue.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Tipple. Ah, we have your number. No, no. We’ll call you.”


At the same time,
a child is born
in Belfast,
and Des Moines
For those who have passed
for those who live,
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
English Standard Version (ESV)

© Joel Tipple

A Season of School


We are,
each one of us,
seasoned by school.
Beginning when we first learn
to stand in line
and hold hands.
And though we never get over wishing it otherwise,
we know some lessons learned by
our children
and grandchildren
will be learned the hard way, such as:
Not everyone likes me. Some people just cannot be pleased, no matter what.
I will find some tasks fun and exciting, while merely tolerating
or being greatly frustrated by others. How I learn to handle both reactions
will have repercussions in every other area of my life, as well.
Just when I think I’ve got something or someone figured out, up will pop
the exception to the rule.
Even though I will seem to spend eternities waiting for summer,
it will all fly by faster and faster.
I won’t be able to magically impart this to my children or grandchildren, either,
but that’s okay.


Today I found household chores to do inside, mostly because I was waiting for an important phone call. It was important enough that I was thinking about it when I went to bed last night, thinking about it when I got up this morning, and still thinking about it throughout the day as I willed the phone to ring. I suppose you could call the whole experience an exercise in patience. Now that’s an interesting phrase, “exercise in patience.” When I think of the word exercise, I consider military exercises, or the kind of exercise you might get during a work out. Any way you slice it, exercise represents effort. Think of all the patience learning exercises you get during a typical day: waiting in line, waiting at the stop light, waiting for your order to arrive, waiting for the microwave… all those seconds ticking away. Sometimes we take these lessons well, sometimes we take them very, very, badly. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like learning the same lessons over and over. I like to think I’m progressing. When I get to heaven I’ll say to God, “Wow Lord, can you believe I learned all those lessons you were trying to teach to me? It took some doing, but look at me now! Well, all we can do is try. So, the phone didn’t ring, but I did get some chores done, had some tea, played a few games on the computer and my phone, and wrote this. Oh yeah, I also remembered to thank God for being patient with me.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9