The End of the Beginning


Sometime around Christmas of 2012 I decided to challenge myself by posting at least once a day for a year beginning January 1, 2013 to a newly created blog. From the beginning the toughest part of this challenge has not been posting “something” each day. Posting something I was truly happy with, now that has been a whole other bottle of ink. So, I made up my mind to make this year a training ground of sorts. I would allow myself to experiment with various styles of poems, devotions, short stories, editorials… really, any sort of writing that I could come up with in a day. I made it as fun and meaningful as I could, both for myself and anyone who cared to take the journey with me. I tried to not pay too much attention to the number of people reading or “liking” each post and I tried to give myself enough room to fail now and then. One of my favorite lessons to take away from the Bible is that God expects us to fall down once in a while. Anyone who has gained a reasonable amount of life experience knows that’s part of the process. I failed just enough to learn some, I think.

My prayer throughout this year has been that I might be an instrument of God to bring healing to those who need it. That sounds like a lofty goal, and I guess it is. If I may be bold enough to say so, I think followers of Jesus bear the responsibility of expressing healing words to those we encounter every day, whether they are spoken in what we might consider an artful manner or not. I don’t consider myself to be that sophisticated. Most of my training in writing has been to write clearly and succinctly. Conveying thoughts through the various means of creative writing can be tremendously therapeutic for the writer, as well as (it is hoped) for the reader.

So what will I do for 2014? To begin with, I will continue to post here at least once a week. Going from seven days to one will allow me to branch out into other projects. I would like to publish my first book before the year is up. Naturally, you want to know what kind of book I have in mind. Right now I’m considering that. Using a word I learned reading Mark Twain, I’m “cogitating.”

To those of you who followed this blog during the last year, I want to express my deepest appreciation. Thanks for reading, commenting and just hanging in there to read again when you had no idea where I was going. Thank you very much indeed.

© Joel Tipple

We Will Rise


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Lord, I’m so inspired,
when I consider that because of you
we don’t have to be normal,
living by the world’s rules
and by them being defined.

We don’t have to
look to the lives
of reality television stars,
political pundits,
or professional athletes
to know how to think
or even what to think about.

We don’t have to fight
artificial battles
that only serve to distract our minds
from the struggle for our souls.
Instead, we can wrest control
from the darkness
that would consume us.

will make your Word
our standard.

will expect more of ourselves
than ordinary.

will light a firestorm,
a revolution of praise
in the land.

will rise
by taking hold of your hand.

© Joel Tipple

Joyful Service


Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Psalm 100:2 ESV

Sweet Lord, my king,
of your truth and mercy I will sing.
From the moment I awake
until my eyes close at night
I will praise you.

I will write of your loving-kindness, Father.
The sun does not shine without you.
The rain doesn’t fall
and the earth is not nourished.

Joy flows within me
like salvation’s river.
Your praises I sing,
and I can barely contain.
Heaven’s music rings,
and my walk with you
is not in vain.
No, never in vain.

© Joel Tipple

Do You See Me in Blue?

Just the other day we were talking about colors,
you know,
our favorites.
What we like.
What likes us.
it all just started kicking around in my mind again.
I want to know.
Do you see me in blue?
Do you see me in blue, like the ocean
on a calm day?
Or do I seem to blend in better
when the ocean is rough
and green?
Do you see me in blue,
like a river reflecting the sky?
Or am I more like the white of the same water sent through a steep corner, speeding?
I guess I’m not sure what it all means,
but either way,
whether or not you see me in blue,
I’ll still be wearing the jeans.

© Joel Tipple

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

Do That

Imagine you are near the end of your life.
Those you love are with you to say goodbye,
and you say I wish I had…

Do that.
Say that.
Be that.

I’ve said it before,
but it’s a drum worth beating.
God implants within each of us talents and dreams more real than we believe.
So it bears repeating…

Do that.
Say that.
Be that.

We are meant to add
something noble.
We are meant
to enrich.
is gold deep underground.
Until you’ve done the work
to bring it to the surface
and use it,
you’re not finished.

© Joel Tipple

Christmas Sails

Christmas sails on,
another season blows through,
at breakneck speed
we rush
into and out of it.
We gather ourselves,
brush off bits of wrapping paper
and fir needles,
then begin the focus
on rest and recovery
until the next one.
Always an opportunity for growth,
and trying to focus on Jesus the most.
It seems with humans nothing is worth doing
unless it’s overdone.
But still, amid the fun,
God, we remembered Your Son…
was the reason.

© Joel Tipple

I Believe

I believe in Christmas hearts,
in the passion of Christmas dreams.
I believe in the full measure of
what Christmas really means.

I believe the best giving
comes from sacrifice,
like that of a soldier posted in a desolate land
or the burden that is carried by a soldier’s husband or wife.

I believe in remembering those who have gone before,
the ones who determined to do without
in order that we have more.

I believe in feeding the hungry
and spreading Christmas hope.
I believe peppermint
should be the official Christmas soap.

I believe Christmas breakfast
should include little egg cups
wrapped with slices of ham.
I believe in Christmas muffins
with a spread of Christmas jam.

I believe in Christmas cats
who, too early, take down the Christmas tree,
just because an ornament was calling,
with its light so sparkling.

I believe in Christmas Eve,
and morning,
and night too,
when the Christmas house, exhausted,
gets ready for a New Year’s view.

I believe in Jesus,
the One who started it all,
Who loves us when we live big,
but calls us to be more
when we choose to live small.

I believe better tomorrows
are made out of better todays
and spreading love and compassion
because it’s the Christmas way.

© 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