Service of Prayer, Reflection, and Imposition of Ashes

Worship Spirit of the Living God
Worship Spirit of the Living God

Here are a few shots from our service last night. For me personally it was a physically and emotionally draining day, but a good one. I always like this particular service for the mere fact it starts a time of reflection and prayer, which moves our focus toward what’s really the greatest celebration of the year, Easter.

Last night was more about recognizing our own brokenness, our own mortality, and coming in a posture of humility to the Creator with our lives. It is still amazing to me how busy we get, how filled our schedules become, and in that business we often lose touch with the reason for our ultimate existence and why we do what we do.

Josh Agerton Reads from the Psalms
Josh Agerton Reads from the Psalms
Dustin Adams Playing Guitar
Dustin Adams Playing Guitar
Chandler Serves the Imposition of Ashes
Chandler Serves the Imposition of Ashes

Crafty Christmas at The Railyard in Opelika

Crafty Christmas at The Railyard
Band Plays Christmas Music Outside at the Crafty Christmas in The Railyard
Crafty Christmas in The Railyard
Band Plays Christmas Music Outside at the Crafty Christmas in The Railyard

Tonight we went over to the Crafty Christmas at The Railyard in Opelika. This was the first  “Crafty Christmas Craft Show,” which is a fundraiser for BigHouse Foundation, a non-profit ministry in Lee County, AL that supports foster care families. The show was held Thursday, November 29th from 6-9pm at the Cotton District on Railroad Avenue in downtown Opelika, and of course, they had some of my favorite live local performs to bring an extra bit of excitement only they could accomplish.

The turnout looked great, and it was the first time I had been able to get over to The Railyard, a really neat venue just across the railroad tracks from the main downtown area. Above are just a few of my favorite shots of the band, and yes, this was a fundraiser in the form of a craft show, so there was a lot more there than just the guys pictured above, but they were my favorite crafted art. Have a good weekend wherever you might be this November 29.

Gameday Auburn vs ULM or Everyday Life in the South

Auburn University Marching Band Football vs ULM 2012
The Drum Major Leads the Auburn University Marching Band for the ULM Game

It came a little later this year than in the past few seasons, but Saturday was finally gameday in Auburn. As part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge they asked people to post about “everyday life” where you live. This may not be everyday life in other parts of the country, or the world, but it is down here in the south. There are those times during the year when people are waiting for SEC football, and then there is the fall when all plans are thrown out the window and people are at the mercy of the SEC schedule and the networks timetable.

This year it just feels a little different. ULM best Arkansas the week before, and Auburn had lost their previous two “away” games, so sitting out in the blasting heat and sun to watch Auburn barely come away with an overtime win against ULM wasn’t the greatest afternoon ever, but it was Auburn football. Auburn’s eagle still flew, and the band still played, but people were dropping left and right because of the heat, prompting my question as to why in the world do they agree to play a football game in the south during the day anymore? I know the answer is the dollar, but still, people were literally being carried out on stretchers. But that’s football devotion in the south, and part of every day life down here.

This coming Saturday could be a very hard game to overcome with LSU already smelling blood in the water. The shots here were taken with my Nikon, sneaked into the stadium since Auburn will no longer allow DSLR’s inside the gates anymore. I probably will not every hassle with it from this point forward this season and just use my iPhone instead, which just gives me another chance to improve as an iPhotographer. I always love the intensity of the Auburn Marching Band, and they are always so accessible during the game, though I’m not sure how they don’t pass out in those wool uniforms in 100*F weather.

One of my favorite shots of the day is one reason why I love football in the Bible belt. The circle of Auburn football players praying before the game puts some perspective on the fact that this is just a football game. But even more, we still live in a part of the country where football players can pray with their coaches, and the team has it’s own Team Chaplain in Rev. Chette Williams. Something rare in this pluralistic world we live in today. War Eagle.

Church and Amazing Lyrics of How Deep the Father's Love for Us

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Band Warmup

Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott Drummer Warmup for Worship

The shot above was one I took while the band was warming up for worship this morning. I never get tired of being around the worship band and their practices. It is just as much a part of worship to me as when the official worship time begins. This church location, our second site, has been meeting in a basketball gym since February, and I love how it forces us to look at church from a new perspective again.

One of the songs we sung today, a modern hymn called How Deep the Father’s Love For Us by Kings Kaleidoscope on their album Sin, which was original written by Stuart Townend many years ago, has become one of my favorites because of the amazing lyrics and how it was written. It was released almost 2 years ago at this point but every time I read this poem, or listen to it being sung, it just hits home why we believe what we believe.

As mere created beings we can’t possibly fathom how deep God loves us, but the part that always rests with me is when the writer says “I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers.” What an incredible thought to process and ponder. You can listen to the song from a link at the top of this post, but the rest of it goes like this:

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

I guess everyone has different stretching points in words and in music that makes them emotionally tied to one work over another. This one for me brings out the beauty and sadness in sacrifice for someone who finally gets it. I love that we can worship a God this great, through these words, and do it with a basketball goal above our heads.

Auburn Tigers Football A-Day Game Photos For 2012

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012

Today was the annual crazy-day game where we play ourselves, called the Auburn A-Day Game. Of course just about every school has a spring game where the offense plays the defense, it just seems to get bigger and bigger as the years go by. Today we had over 43,427 people at this game where we played ourselves, a game in which Coach Chizik said “numerical values meant little — if not nothing.” Makes me wonder (every single year)… why… but, it’s Auburn football, and there are very few chances to get into Jordan-Hare Stadium and take photos of crazy people (myself included since obviously I was at this “game”). I feel sort of obligated to go now since I have 4 years of A-Day Game posts on my blog, and I wouldn’t want to cull a blog mini-series of mine like the A-Day Game.

As Ryan Wood wrote for the Opelika-Auburn News on the game, “I wouldn’t look and pay attention to any of the stats today,” said Chizik, who barely glanced at the sheet in front of him for the 10 minutes he spent with the media. “It was different guys in there with different personnel groupings, and mix and match players. I wouldn’t read into any stats that you may see, good or bad.” But, that just means that keep stats for this game? Seriously? OK, I guess we keep stats on everything these days, and why not, the number of data points that we can capture at any given event now is bordering on the incomprehensible.

One interesting thing that did take place yesterday was the unavailing of three statues of Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winners, Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson, and Cam Newton. I have photos of the new statues, but I think I am going to post them in a separate blog post, after all, they did win the Heisman, they probably deserve their own post. I do find it kind of interesting that after something like 100 years of football we have now joined Alabama in memorializing our gladiators in the form of gigantic bronze statues that would make the Greek gods proud. I guess I can no longer make fun of Bama’s statue of Bear Bryant or Nick Saban and the like, oh well.

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012 Marching Band Drums

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012 Marching Band Trumpets

Auburn Tigers Aday Game 2012

The Friday Night Lights Live Album Recording :: Friday Feet

Today’s Friday Feet comes from a live album recording here at Cornerstone Church in Auburn. I will probably post a few more photos of the shoot tomorrow but for now, here is a smattering of feet and music from the night. The live recording took place over two nights, last night and tonight, and was the first live worship recording for an album our band has completed.

I love the privilege of getting to worship throughout the week and not just on Sunday, or at least in the manner we do on Sunday. This was a special night in many respects, and I enjoyed the unique experience of getting to shoot and worship at the same time. The shot of the guitar 3 images down serves today as my Project 365 [Day 3] image (see the rest of P365.me :2012 here). Have a great weekend all.

No Refunds in Auburn for City Schools Fall Festival :: Friday Feet

I’m playing catchup today with some photos I took earlier in the week. My countdown clock to Uganda (we leave on Wednesday) is running faster than a normal clock it seems and I didn’t get a chance to post these Tuesday night after the festival. So, today’s Friday Feet comes from the Auburn City School Fall Festival that took place on Tuesday, but the feet shot above was just way to cute not to use for today’s post. Each year the Auburn city school system gathers at Duck Samford park in Auburn for their fall festival, and this year I was asked to take some photos of the opening band, called No Refunds. The youth have a great band and it was a lot of fun to listen to them play on Tuesday night.

Below is a shot of each of the band members from No Refunds. No that the fall festival is over we could use some actual fall weather.

Auburn Tigers Football vs Mississippi State Game 2 :: Photos

The game this week was another crazy ending that ended with a win by a last play stop that literally came within an inch or two of a Mississippi State score. For those of us who sit in the blasting sun hopefully this will be the last day game until it gets a little cooler.

Next week Auburn goes on the road and so do we. We will be watching Auburn play Clemson from Denver where we will be celebrating the birth of our second grandson. Until then, hope you enjoy some of the photos from the game today. It was a hot day to haul the camera around Jordan-Hare Stadium but I love some of the images from today. I’m always amazed that there is anything original left to produce at a football game but each game is always different. War Eagle.

Auburn Tigers Football vs Utah State Game 1 :: Photos

This was a crazy crazy game, that almost ended with Auburn getting beat by Utah State. Auburn seems to always make the games exciting and this was certainly no exception. Of course as with every game this time of year it was blasting hot but with a nice breeze from Tropical Storm Lee down in the gulf. It’s really hard to believe that the football season is back in full swing but it is. Time goes by so incredibly fast… it seems like last week we were watching them play Oregon in the national championship game. But, 6-8 months have gone by and the summer is almost over. At least in the end Auburn ended up winning the game, even if it wasn’t pretty. Next week will be a tough game for them.

Celebrating the Life of Erin Stephens Today at Cornerstone

This week our church lost a dear friend as the Lord brought home Erin Stephens. Erin touched this church and the Auburn community in so many ways, and this was quite evident by how many people came to say goodbye to her today. It was a privilege for me to be a part of that and I felt quite blessed to be able to share this time with her family. It’s always amazing to be able to celebrate a life lived for Christ, and that’s what we did. Her service was as she requested to her husband and family, a celebration of her life and a time of worship. One of my favorite verses from was read, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”, from John 11:25 along with a great message of encouragement from Rusty. We also sang How Great Thou Art, I Will Rise, and You’re Beautiful, a great song of worship by Phil wickham from the Cannons album. I love the last verse of that song, which says…

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful

Here are a few photos from today’s worship. It really was beautiful.