Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's not about Palm Sunday, It's About God's Plan

Charlotte, NC-- It's Palm Sunday and we begin week two of this road trip in Charlotte, NC where I was fortunate enough to worship with the folks at New Birth Charlotte this morning.

It's hard to believe this church is already five years old. I remember visiting only three weeks after Pastor Terrell Murphy founded the church in 2003, right after I had moved from New Birth in Atlanta to Alabama.

I was eager to check out this first church that was planted outside of our Lithonia, Ga- based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. I remember when Pastor Murphy was Elder Murphy and dynamically leading our college campus ministry. He's still as dynamic as ever and allowing God to use him in a mighty way.

He has the heart of our Bishop Eddie L. Long and it just flows right through the way that New Birth Charlotte has grown to several thousand members in the last half-decade.

Picked up a copy of Pastor Murphy's first book, It Had Already Happened. Can't wait to dive into it this week in between stops on this trip.

I was challenged today to remember that I am part of God's plan-- and everything I do should tie directly back to his larger plan.

The church has moved to a larger facility where it now holds three services at 7 am, 9:15am and noon. It started with services at a high school in Huntersville.

Having been back once since that initial visit, I was coming today for the first time to the facility in University Place-- but it definitely won't be my last. I'll have schedule a Sunday here in Charlotte again so that I can worship here another Sunday.

Reflections on a week in East Alabama

It's rare to spend six days away from campus and yet remain in Alabama. But, that's been the case this last week-- the first of two on the road. While three of those were spent on the road in Anniston-Jacksonville area, the last three were spent in Auburn.

On this Sunday-- as week two begins, it's worth pausing to reflect on the significance, the memorable moments of the road trip that registered several hundreds miles on my odometer.

Tuesday, March 11- Letterwriters Banquet, Anniston, Ala.

While I have written more extensively about this event on my other web log, the reunion with one of my former students, who now is in the Knight Fellows Program in Anniston was perhaps most memorable about this event at the Anniston Natural History Museum.

Wednesday, March 12- Ayers Lecture, Jacksonville, Ala.

Seeing my students all dressed up as they reported on New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger's visit to Jacksonville State was definitely the highlight of this stop. I even got a chance to introduce them as I commented during a question-and-answer session. It's always exciting to visit the picturesque Jacksonville State campus.

Thursday, March 13- Dedication of the Cole Campbell Collection Anniston, Ala.

The late Cole Campbell, a former editor of the Virginian Pilot and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was remembered as thousands of his books have made their way to Alabama from his most recent home in Reno, NV. Present and former deans of our College as well as present and former journalism department heads were on hand for the dedication of the Cole Campbell Collection. I certainly enjoyed speaking at this particular event.

Friday, March 14- Auburn University

The editor of the student newspaper at our cross-state rival institution-- Auburn University-- reflected on how well his staff handled the recent murder of a student near the campus. David Ingram,editor of the Auburn Plainsman, was quite clear in his belief that his staff was prepared as it found itself cast into the national spotlight with the murder of Lauren Burk.

Just hours after hearing from Ingram, I was able to catch up with one of my former students, who is covering the Burk murder for the Opelika-Auburn News. Katie Stallcup was always very outstanding. She's recently signed on the Media General-owned paper where she covers crime and courts.

Saturday, March 15- Meeting Editor of Auburn Magazine

Not only did my visit to the Auburn campus for the 2008 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium allow me to meet the editor of the Auburn Plainsman, but also the editor of the Auburn Magazine, the alumni publication which is similar to Alabama Alumni Magazine, on whose advisory board I served. It's exciting to hear that the editor is a journalism graduate from the University of Georgia.

Rivalries aside, the Auburn campus was certainly nice to visit and I look forward sharing with the folks there again soon.