The House of Worship

worship (1)

O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
Isaiah 25:1 ESV

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1 ESV

I recently learned that some churchgoers actually skip the worship portion of their service. I was incredulous. Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I love the sermon too. A message that moves or convicts you can change your life, but it’s part of a service, not THE service. There has always been something about the musical portion of a church service that transports me to a place where I feel closer to God. I’ve felt that way for as long as I remember feeling anything about going to church at all. But even though my strongest emotions about music find their home in a church worship service, music has always impacted most aspects of my life. My feelings of nostalgia for different waypoints in my life are strongest when combined with the music I was listening to at the time, whether secular or spiritual.

In the same way that we know music doesn’t have the same strong effect on everyone, we also know that singing and playing instruments aren’t the only way to worship God. It’s important that we understand there are many ways to worship God like prayer and serving others. How do you worship?

One Summer night
as I was walking
around dinner time
and it was cool.
There came a sound
of children singing
all joyful and out of school.
They were singing
their hearts out to Jesus
like they’d mostly burst
if they could.
I thought angels were singing with them,
but it was youth worshiping
like they should.

Looking for the house of worship,
looking for the heart of praise.
There doesn’t have to be a steeple
or even a particular age.
If your aim is to lift Jesus higher
and to leave all your burdens behind,
any place can be your place of worship
and any folks can worship God in that place.

Lift your hands, lift your voice,
if there’s a drummer, give him time.
Be careful of claptastrophies.
Music opens hearts
and can help them soften too
when we just let Jesus lead.

The sound can be country, rock,
or rhythm and blues.
Style’s less important than substance.
Jesus is more about
the shape of your heart
than your circumstance.
So take a chance.

Your house of worship
may be any shape at all,
the seats be pews, bleachers,
or even beanbags.
Just find some human beings
who want to be redeemed,
and some music
that can start some healing.
The house is less important
than the Holy Spirit’s lead.

© Joel Tipple 6/15/2019

Feeling Music

19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:19

Music drew me to the Lord when I was a child.
The rhythm, like my heartbeat, pushing melodies.
Well worn hymns or modern songs,
like David’s famous psalms,
tied me ever tighter
to the maker of the sounds
of winds and waters.

But no matter
where life takes me,
no great cacophony
or raucous clamor
can drown out
the ever-present ebullience
of my Saviour’s symphony.

So it is now as it was then,
that I’m drawn along with
seekers and believers,
to the places
that play Amazing Grace,
then to the oceans and forests
that fuel me for the race.
I’m always seeking
the joyous sounds of God’s music.

© Joel Tipple 11/3/2018


Young Music

If you love them,
give them the gift of music.
It makes every other class they take worth more.
And if you’re interested in success for their future,
you’ll find it helps open so many doors.
Who can take part?
Anyone with a heartbeat.
Humans were born to communicate
using rhythm and sound.
It’s a universal language
that proves we can all find common ground.
Don’t be short sighted and cancel music,
thinking you can’t afford to pay.
You simply can’t afford the silence,
and you’ll be contributing to society’s decay.

© Joel Tipple

All Right


Some days
I dunk my head in a cup of coffee.
It doesn’t have to be any way but hot.
By the time
I’ve sipped it down I’m feeling more ready
for whatever wonky things this day brings.

The clatter of leaves blowing in like fall
brings news of changing weather. Change is coming.
But it didn’t ask me, didn’t ask me, didn’t ask me.
But it’s all right.

It’s all right and I’ll just roll right into heaven.
No reason to stop just cause this life ain’t cake.
It’s all right all day and into evenin’.
It’s all what God gives you and it’s surely what you make.
It’s all right.

© Joel Tipple

How Great Thou Art


Tonight, I was listening to Pandora background music as I began my post. I was about to write about another hymn when “How Great Thou Art” began to play. That led me to remember that George Beverly Shea passed away recently at the age of 104. For years his beautiful bass-baritone voice highlighted the Billy Graham crusades. As magnificent as his voice was, the words of the hymns he sang were always the star, because the message they conveyed helped lead others to Christ. He was able to remain humble because he understood what a gift and responsibility it is to represent the gospel to the world. No matter how large or small you may believe your sphere of influence to be, someone is affected by the message you represent. Being a child of God is a gift, privilege, and responsibility. As we begin a new week, let’s all pray a little longer and reach a little higher. God does have a plan for you, short term and for the rest of your life.

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rollin’ thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed.
Then sings my soul
My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art!
When Christ shall come
With shouts of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim,
“My God, how great Thou art!”
Then sings my soul
My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art
How great Thou art!…

New Baby Song

Seasons have a way of changing
Whether or not you’re ready for them to
Just when I thought I was through growing
God gave me more to do
Bring in one more small life
One little voice
One more cry demanding for hugs
One more tummy for food
One more mind for thought
One more heart to fill with love!

Make my arms strong enough
To hold another child
Help me to believe I’ve got enough
Because it’s been awhile
I know if you’ve given me more to do
Somewhere inside me it’s there
All of those things
A small person needs
It’s not too much for me to bear

Here’s an album of photos from the future
Parties birthday and slumber and swim
There’s a shot of the cast for his elbow
When he ventured too far on a limb
Good decisions mixed with unwise ones
Here’s graduation, a girlfriend, a car
If it’s not too much to ask for
God can you please
Help his angel keep up with his star

I imagined long ago how my life would be
Now I’m climbing a ladder of faith
Trusting as I lift each foot up
The rung will be there

Make my arms strong enough
To hold another child
Help me to believe I’ve got enough
Because it’s been awhile
I know if you’ve given me more to do
Somewhere inside me it’s there
All of those things
A small person needs
It’s not too much for me to bear
Not too much for me to…

Just Keep Walkin’

You gonna give him a bad reputation
just keep walkin’ just keep walkin’
the devil thought he had you in the bag
keep on walkin’ just keep walkin’
then you stopped in to check out a preacher
just keep walkin’ just keep walkin’
and somehow his words got through your chemical haze
just keep walkin’
and STOP

Do you think it’s possible you can change?
Is it all just for them and not you?
Is this feeling what some people call hope?
Aw man… I don’t know

Now you’re thinkin’ ‘bout the things he was sayin’
just keep walkin’ just keep walkin’
‘how God’s son came down for all to get saved
keep on walkin’ just keep walkin’
how he could take away your guilt and give you new life
just keep walkin’ just keep walkin’
but you’re still so scared that you could get played
just keep walkin’

you’ve tried it your way
and you’re tired of the games
you’ve heard all satan’s lies
it’s just always the same
now your heart starts to melt
is it true you can win?
it’s time to let heaven in
and PRAY

Oh let Him in
your walk will never be the same
you’ll stand just a little taller
God don’t never play games
He’ll take away the pain inside
that was all you could ever share
and replace it with something real
new hope living there

just keep walkin’
a new direction dude
keep on walkin’ just keep walkin’
you’re walkin’ for Jesus, bro’
just keep walkin’ just keep walkin’
this little light of mine
keep on walkin’
ya gotta let it shine man
keep on walkin’ keep on walkin’
keep on walkin’ keep on walkin’