Outside the Walls: The Climb

“Who wants to climb Table Rock?” asked my 60-year-old grandfather while on a family camping trip. To a 10-year-old kid, climbing a mountain sounded like a good idea. I asked how long the hike would take. “It shouldn’t take more than an hour,” he said. That was about all the preparation we had before my […]

Outside the Walls: Moment, Map, Mountain

I remember the moment when my wife said yes. I surprised her at her dorm to go on a picnic. We headed up to Whitewater Falls and hiked around to the top of the falls and climbed down a small embankment. I spread out the blanket on top of the rock and pulled out the […]

Outside the Walls: Unwanted Lives

Shelley was an unwanted child. Ruth had longed for a child of her own and adopted Shelley at birth and loved her. Ruth never hid from Shelley that she was adopted. It was important to her that Shelley know that she had been “chosen.” Shelley would wonder at times who her birth mother was. The […]

Outside the Walls: Nations Moving to Neighborhoods

“Do you have anyone from Asia your church is reaching?” a missionary asked while having lunch with a pastor friend. The pastor shook his head and said, “We have not taken a mission trip to Asia.” “I’m talking about right here in your community.” The pastor looked up from his lunch and asked, “Do you […]

Outside the Walls: Don’t Give Up

“Tell them not to give up. Those two young men need to hear the gospel.” I was on the streets of Paris. The two North Africa migrants the missionary was referring to were smoking a cigarette waiting on the metro. I watched him walk over, start a conversation in Arabic, and share with them the […]

Outside the Walls: Heartbeat of a Multiplying Church

I sat in a local church recently that was full and vibrant. The pastor stood up in front of the packed house and shocked me with what he said: “We need some of you to leave.” Those who were guests couldn’t believe their ears, but the locals knew what he meant. It was time to […]

Outside the Walls: Planting Seeds

“Come help me in the garden a minute.” When my dad ever said something was going to take a minute, you may as well pack a lunch. I would hear these words every year that it was time to plant and knew that it was an all-day affair. It wouldn’t be so bad if all […]

Outside the Walls: Engage the Enemy

“I don’t need a ride. I need more ammunition.” With these words, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy turned down the offer by the United States government to be evacuated from his country in the initial days of a Russian invasion. Rather than retreat to a life of comfort and safety, he chose to risk his life […]

Outside the Walls: The Salvator Mundi

A worn-out antique painting hung in Basil Hendry’s old plantation style home in Baton Rouge for decades. His family would walk by it regularly and not pay much attention to it. Upon his death, no one in his family desired to have the old painting, so it was sold at an estate auction for around […]

Outside the Walls: Don’t Sneeze Your Dream Away

We were one sneeze away from never hearing about Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. King describes the incident in his final speech. He was signing copies of his first book at 29 years old in Harlem, N.Y., when he heard a female voice ask him if he was Martin Luther King Jr. He was still […]