Here on release day for the new record, I thought it was time to share the story of this record. It’s a compilation record but not exactly a greatest hits. More like some hits and some other songs we wish you knew about. And a couple of new songs. It came out today (Friday May 26), so you should be able to find it where you buy music (iTunes, Amazon, wherever). So here’s the story…
I assumed the story of From Grace to Glory would be a story of songs. But it turns out it is really a story of people. It’s the story of one man and one God who goes to extreme lengths in loving that man. It’s a story of families: first, the Agnews adopting a baby, giving him parents and then a sister, then the McKinneys and the Carrolls opening their homes and families in new towns, and now a new generation of Agnews, learning to love and be loved by a wife and two awesome kids. It’s a story of friends willing to love and support the life and ministry of someone who is not a very good friend in return. It’s a story of people across cities, states, countries and continents—all a part of the story God is telling through my life and ministry.
The story of the creation of the record Grace Like Rain is really the story of a church in the Woodlands providing a time of healing and a church in Memphis partnering with me as we all learned ministry. The song Grace is the story of a dear friendship with Chris Collins as we learned what it meant to lead God’s people in worship. The Thunder Song (as most people called it) was my story of an encounter with God (specifically Psalm 29), but ended up as the story of a group of young adults learning to worship in Memphis. But the story of how Grace Like Rain got out into the world included a whole other cast of characters: Dana and Ardent, Vince and VLW, Greg and GOA, Eddie and Newsong. And God’s grace poured out from each of their lives into mine.
Reflection was the story of a past and a present. An adoption story reflected my own parents and sister. Worship stories came from years with Highpoint. Music came from all over, but especially from Memphis. Those musicians shaped me. And Hampton shaped the record. Then the Nashville team, Josh Peterson and everyone at INO, believed not only in the record but in My Jesus specifically. Those years and those songs would have never happened without my new family on the road: Wilson, Chu, Cody, Rob, and Farns. New friends joined us on tours and old friends loved us at home.
Do You See What I See was itself a story, a story of the first Christmas. I still remember starting to tell the story to the Rivers that first year. Then going home to Memphis and sharing the story with John Fry. How crazy to have a label that said, “We may not make any money, but this is what God is doing right now.” DYSWIS was the story of friends who joined with me to tell a story.
Better Questions allowed me to explore a lot of tough topics. They were the songs I never thought I’d share with anyone. They are the stories we don’t like to tell. Once again, Ardent made the record possible, but a lot of hurting believers across the world brought the ministry to life.
Need is the story of making a record when you don’t feel confident enough about your life to write about it. I was newly married and I loved my wife, but I didn’t feel I had anything worthwhile to say about marriage. Or about being a dad. The only thing I knew was I desperately needed God to do these things. So I turned back to old trusted friends; some of them were people, some were hymns. And my wife pointed out how powerful songs could be when they said the name of Jesus.
And How To Be Loved was the story of being married and being a dad. Because that story was the same as the first story. It was still the story of God loving me, of God showing his grace to me. He had redeemed my soul and he was recreating my life. He loved me through them. And new friends helped me tell the story.
And now, the story continues. DTS is a big part of it. Visible is a part of it. Not the institutions but the people, the professors, the students. Drs. Glahn and Jones and Horrell and Kreider. Small group: Kent, Joshua, Stephen, Bryan, and Shane. The new songs owe a lot to Quimby and the Jeremys in addition to old partners Dave and Kim. I co-wrote one of the new songs with Chris Collins; so, that circle is continuing. And now Ardent is moving forward with Pat, Ryan, and others. These people shape me, my wife and my kids most of all. They are God’s grace to me. And I continue to try to write and live for his glory.
3 thoughts on “From Grace To Glory: The Story”
I listened to the new record last night. The first song I heard was His Eye is On the Sparrow. Oh my, it really got these feeble feet to dancing! I love the arrangement and the instrumentals. Glory to our Great Redeemer had already become a favorite of mine since hearing it earlier this year. What a great song for the church! Nearer Home was also a familiar song I’ve heard you sing at concerts for the past few years, but I really enjoyed the added accompaniment on the record. The other songs were some of my favorites from past records. The only one I’m not hip enough to appreciate fully is the fusion of Beautiful and Unchanging One. I love both of those songs individually so the jury is sitill out on that one. Overall, this record is a great combination of the new and old, and an amazing story of love and grace and friendships that you mentioned in your blog. What a legacy to the glory of God!
Todd, I’m so blessed to have been a part of the story, even a peripheral, in the early 2000’s. Through your ministry I made friendships that have lasted and continue to grow thirteen years later. The songs on Grace Like Rain, Reflection of Something, Better Questions and Do You See What I See have continued to hold special meaning in my life after all this time. (God with Us is the first Christmas song I listen to every year, and I actually listen to it throughout the year in moments when I need a reminder that He was, is and always will be Immanuel, God with Us.) I am a life that has been abundantly blessed by your ministry, and I hope to have the chance to support you again as you come to Michigan in a couple of months. I won’t even hold it against you if you decide to wear a Notre Dame shirt.
Thank you for continuing to follow God’s call on your life and for sharing your ministry with all of us. He’s used you to change lives and I believe He will continue to do so as you remain faithful to Him. God bless!
I just happen to check where Todd Agnew has been on today August 2, 2017. I haven’t heard any new music from you in along time….thus to my great joy you have been on a journey that has brought you closer to Jesus….instead of closer to the world..love it…
And I ESPECIALLY love the point where you said your wife pointed out that songs with the name of Jesus are more powerful!!! I have even noticed being a Christian for 37 years how Christian music has eliminated the name of Jesus…I think to try to enter the secular music industry…but I believe has been a ploy of the devil…to stop the name of the one who has defeated him the great name of Jesus!!!!