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I’m back from a week hiatus, and I’ll explain what I did and where I went. Let’s get to it.

  1. Globetrotting to South Africa

In May, I got a phone call from my Thunder P.R. contact, asking if I would be interested in working the NBA Africa Game. It was me (official scorekeeper), the rest of the table personnel (scoreboard, clock, shot clock) and the stat crew, which makes up seven of us, travelling to Johannesburg, South Africa last week.

I’ll admit, South Africa was never on my adventure radar, but it’s hard to pass up an opportunity like this. It was a brief trip, a total of three “sleeps” in Pretoria, where the game was played. I didn’t do much touristy stuff because we didn’t have transportation, but we stayed in a very nice hotel, located across the street from the arena.

The game was broadcasted live on ESPN2 on Sat., Aug. 4. It was definitely fun to work, especially with the pre-game festivities that featured some African culture flair.

I also got to meet Levi, a young man who is an itinerant preacher in South Africa. We happened to be at a pharmacy near my hotel, and he read my t-shirt that promoted my church. He said he had some seminary training in California and is planning a trip back to the states this fall. God always encourages me through such random meetings.

  1. Collegiate Week at Falls Creek

The day after I got back from South Africa, I returned to my “happy place.” Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center was hosting LifeWay’s Collegiate Week, which ended Thursday, Aug. 9.

My story on Collegiate Week is already posted on the Baptist Messenger website, as it will be the cover story for the Aug. 16 Messenger.

This is a major deal for Falls Creek. I interviewed Bill Noe who is the program director for Collegiate Week, and he spoke about Collegiate Week leaving Glorieta Conference Center in N.M. and meeting for the first time at Falls Creek. LifeWay, being a national resource entity for the Southern Baptist Convention, is big time, and for Falls Creek to host a LifeWay event speaks volumes for the campground in the Arbuckle Mountains.

Noe and his LifeWay peeps are thrilled to have Collegiate Week at Falls Creek. I mentioned in my article the word “home” was repetitive in Noe’s vocabulary. He could not have been more gracious and complimentary about Falls Creek and especially the Falls Creek staff.

Collegiate Week appears to be a regular occurrence at Falls Creek for years to come.

  1. A wrong conclusion of Billy Graham rule

Winfree Brisley offers a review of the book “Why Can’t We Be Friends? Avoidance is Not Purity” by Aimee Byrd. I appreciate Brisley’s intention of clarity to some standards of philosophy and personal discipline that both men and women set for themselves.

According to Brisley’s review, Byrd is critical of the well-known “Billy Graham rule,” which is a standard Christian leaders follow, preventing meeting alone with someone of the opposite sex beside their spouse or a family member.

One thing that I would like to point out is the Billy Graham rule does not ONLY apply to men. I know women leaders who have a similar standard. Also, the Billy Graham rule does not mean avoidance of a person of the opposite sex. People make it out that the rule followers “snub” people, will not meet with them at all. They misunderstand that many followers of the Graham rule make extra measures like bringing their spouse, a family member or another co-worker along.

And whether or not the critics of the Billy Graham rule believe this, many of the rule followers do it out of respect of the person of the opposite sex they are meeting with.

As I have said before, in this day of rampant sexual harassment and domestic abuse, the Billy Graham rule should be welcomed.

  1. Riley responds to Meyer situation

OU Head Football Coach Lincoln Riley said domestic abusers “won’t work here.” This is in light of what happened recently at Ohio State University, as Buckeye Head Coach Urban Meyer has been suspended after it was reported he was aware of a former assistant coach’s abusive actions.

Riley’s direct comments should be appreciated. I continue to be impressed with how he has begun his head coaching stint.

“There’s no secrets in this world anymore,” Riley told the Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel. “We have to be honest with each other. We have to communicate.”

I was asked if I thought Meyer would return to the Buckeye sidelines. I don’t see it happening. I think Meyer’s coaching days are done. Sexual harassment today is considered a heavy offense, and many celebrities, spokespeople and in leadership roles have faced severe penalties. It will be hard for Meyer to get a reprieve.

  1. Mohler on Stanley

Al Mohler’s The Briefing podcasts are back after taking the month of July off. You should check them out. Nobody is more respected today than Al Mohler.

In today’s edition of The Briefing, Mohler offers commentary about Andy Stanley’s recent comments about “unhitching” from the Old Testament. Mohler also wrote an article about Stanley, accusing him of heresy.

Stanley, the son of well-known pastor Charles Stanley who followed his father’s profession to become a pastor of a church in Atlanta, continues to say controversial remarks. A few years ago, I blogged critically of Stanley when he criticized small churches.

I pray God will move in Andy Stanley’s heart, convict him of his heretical remarks and restore him to be a godly communicator of His Word.

  1. Communicate truth among fake news

Bruce Ashford has a great article you should read – “3 Ways to Communicate Truth in a Fake News Era.”

One point Ashford makes that I appreciate is his emphasis on civility:

“What we need is not political correctness but civility. Whereas today’s political correctness often demands social conformity at the expense of personal beliefs, civility encourages us to articulate our beliefs, but to do so in a way that respects the dignity and decency of other persons.

“Civil citizens are smart enough, strong enough, and patriotic enough to make their political points without having to take the low road.”