Bridges Needed

300th Combat Engineers Co. B poses following bridge completion.
Photo: Riel Crandall

During World War 2 the U.S. Army utilized combat engineers for various construction and demolition tasks. Many of these jobs focused on bridges, both for the purpose of advancing our own military and impeding the enemy’s. Under a deadline, and often under deadly conditions, these engineers performed near miracles to give control of transportation and supply lines to allied forces.

Though we may not always realize it, and whether we serve in the military or not, the rest of us are at war too. The difference is our fight is for the souls of men and women to be brought to God. Most important, in our day to day encounters, are we building bridges with those we meet or destroying them? The relationships we all form with those we meet create the bridge between them and the gospel. The people in our lives have to see Jesus in us before they can begin to picture Jesus in their own lives. Is our focus largely on small personal battles that may detract from our primary message and goal, or do we seek to bring people together under the banner of Jesus Christ? The battlefield is littered with the denominational flags and petty theological arguments of those who put the primacy of their organizations before that of winning souls. God’s actively seeking volunteers. Will you put other lives before your own? Will you put yourself under the authority of Jesus Christ? Will you be a bridge builder?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 ESV

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-11 ESV

Here I am,
a volunteer before you God.
I hear the age I am
is the age you want.
Though I’m no engineer
I hear you’re looking
for bridge builders.
The world seems to be
a fighting place.
It’s hard to find peace
in this human race.

The love of money
and its kin
gets ahead
of what you said
is important.
So use me
to build a bridge,
make these hands clean.
Give these eyes a view
for eternity.
Give me
all you know I need
to be a first class
bridge builder.

©Joel Tipple 11/16/2019

Sheep Drive

I’m told my grandfather,
who was on my mother’s side,
used to drive loads of sheep
from the saddle
on a sheep drive.
And when I say sheep drive,
I don’t mean the latest
Apple iteration…
You know,
like all those operating
named after wild animals.
I think they’re mostly

Back to our topic…

I don’t suppose he called them “doggies,”
the sheep,
that is.
But I’ll bet he had some great dogs,
the kind that pretty much did the job
on their own
without a lot of input from the guy on
the horse,
maybe just a finger point here or there
or some sort of code
known only to my grandfather
and the dog.

So he would drive
to the railroad terminal
where they would board the train
which would take them to market.
I wonder if they made it all the way
to San Francisco?
I wonder if they were told the trip
was sort of a fun
If they bought it, would that mean someone
had successfully pulled
the wool
over their eyes?

Love Note to my Pickup

This note is for the men
(and women)
who secretly love their truck.
It ain’t a Jerry Springer or Oprah kinda love.
No, it’s a love that’s pure and natural as America’s great outdoors
and I get all misty when I consider it and glance above.


A truck will carry
two who marry
a bed fulla stuff
for their first place
an xtra cab for their lab
a gun and ammo
for the game-animal race

vittles from the store
in case you miss that boar
a bale of hay
for the day
you have a field full of critters
who want to eat it…

a raccoon in a cage
who thought your garbage all the rage

a fridge full of food
invite your folks
don’t be rude

a bed of sand
for the land
your children play in

a bunch of flowers
for her bower
tea and crumpets
for the muppets
if they stop over

all the stuff to build a house
for all the other stuff
and your spouse
a play set for the kiddies
you grow in the back yard

stuff to take to the dump
or extra stuff to store
more stuff where that stuff was
from the

a barrel of oil
to change your own
a big antennae
when you can’t use your phone

to get to the top
just scratchin’ the surface
I know it’s a lot

In conclusion…
a truck is a serious relationship
not one for the player
or insincere
just keep her gassed and serviced
and be civil
you don’t really have to call her