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: 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: Answering the ‘All Call’

It started out as a normal day. Genelle sat down at her desk and began to get to work, when the unimaginable happened. A plane, hijacked by terrorists, flew into the World Trade Center where she worked on the 64th floor. She began to evacuate. When she reached the 13th floor, she bent over to […]

Outside the Walls: Counting Seeds, Not Just Trees

During the pandemic quarantine, my son, Corder, had a great idea: “Let’s plant a garden!” My wife, Leisa, thought this was a good idea, but I knew who would be doing the cultivating. So, Leisa and I got to work, and Corder got to play. For those of you who are gardeners, you understand the […]

Outside the Walls: Shifting from Quarrels to Love

“Quit fighting! You’re on the same team!” No, that was not a motion at the Southern Baptist Convention. However, I said this quite frequently as my two young boys were locked up while attempting to do something together. When my boys were younger, I would purposely get them to work together to try to accomplish […]

Outside The Walls: Developing Disciples

Graduation Day! I remember it vividly. It was the culmination of months of anticipation and preparation. I had listened to the instruction of my teacher and thought I was ready to tackle the years ahead. When the day arrived, a flood of anxiety came over me and I didn’t know if I could go through […]