Outside the Walls: The Responsibility of Freedom

Her fingers slowly tied the yellow ribbon around the wire fence. It was a ritual she had done every morning, month after month, as she walked in the early morning around the farm. The field was glistening with morning dew in stark contrast to the desert where her son was currently stationed. The ribbon represented […]

Outside the Walls: The Sermon

Two of the best sermons I ever heard were not preached inside the walls of a church, during a revival or at an evangelism conference. The sermons weren’t on a podcast or live-streamed over the Web. There was no pulpit, no love offering, no quiet mood music during the invitation. These two sermons were living […]

Outside the Walls: A Message to Moms

The elderly man wheeled down the hallway of the nursing home on his last week there. (Don’t worry, he wasn’t graduating. He was there temporarily, for rehabilitation.) When he heard someone speak his name, he raised his eyes slowly and met the eyes of an attractive blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman. “This is your last week here, […]

Outside the Walls: Changed People Change the World

If you had breakfast with a dead guy, I wonder if your conversations would be the same that week. Imagine Monday morning around the water cooler. “How was your weekend?” “Oh, it was cool. We did some family stuff. I went fishing with the guys. John fell asleep on the boat and got sunburned; and, […]

Outside the Walls: You’ve Got Cookies to Bake

Blake’s heart was thumping in his chest as he looked over at one of his best friends from high school sitting next to him in his car. John and Blake had played baseball together and were pretty tight, but Blake had kept a secret from John for over two years that he needed to ’fess […]

Outside the Walls: Legacy

“Let me show you how a blind man does it.” My father gripped the hammer in his hand, and with two swift hits the nail was in the board. Ironically, he was legally blind. I was amazed at how he could do this, and I wondered why the nails I hit would turn into very […]

Outside the Walls: All Smiles

My phone rang twice, and it was my wife both times, which is her signal for me to answer even if I’m talking to Billy Graham. “Connor just knocked out his front two teeth and I’m about to pass out. Can you come home?” I said, “Let me check my calendar.” I pulled into the […]

Outside the Walls: Living Stories

“Everyone has their story. Take time to listen.” Of all the advice my grandmother, Helen Corder Keisler, could have written for a young, impressionable preacher, she chose to pen these words inside the cover of my first study Bible, the one she gave me after I obeyed the call to preach. (I thought evangelists were […]

Outside the Walls: Gospel Tweets

We live in a world that is obsessed with sharing. The only problem is that what the world shares is usually meaningless information in the form of random Tweets, Facebook statuses or Pinterest posts about how to make a candle out of an orange. “Naptime was awesome” (@JustinBieber). “I’m driving right now” (@lilkim). “I work […]

Outside the Walls: Love to Lead

“How can we help you?” It was the first time the middle school principal of my town had ever been asked that question by a church leader. For years he had been asked other questions: “Would it be OK if we had a student Bible study on campus?” “Can our student minister come to lunch […]