Todd Agnew is the worship leader, musician, and songwriter behind hits like "Grace Like Rain" and "My Jesus. In chronicling a new understanding of receiving God's love, his powerful 2012 album with Ardent Records and Fair Trade Services, How To Be Loved, is a revelation of sorts.
Much of this understanding started when Todd bought his first house, moved back to Texas and became husband and stepfather all in the course of a weekend. "I came in wanting to do stuff for them, to take care of them," Agnew recalls, "and my wife was asking me if I could receive from them, be loved by them. I really had to say, ‘I have no idea what you're taking about.' Then I finally translated that, and realized, ‘Oh, God, I see what You're doing! I have to learn to receive that same love from You.'"
Todd is well-known for his voice, and the gravitas it brings to his music. This time around, though, he brings a remarkable vibrancy born from his desire to collaborate with the likes of renowned producer Paul Ebersold (Third Day, 3 Doors Down) and fellow songwriters Andrew Osenga (Chris Tomlin, Andrew Peterson) and Jason Ingram (Brandon Heath, MercyMe) among others. "I think we have a much more cohesive record than I've done in a long time," remarks Todd. "My other records are kind of all over the map musically. I love music, all kinds of music, so I tend to just switch gears every 4˝ minutes."
How To Be Loved is heralded by the radio single "God Undefeatable." The song was originally written by a gifted trio of two worship leaders and a pastor as an Easter song for Todd's church in Austin, Texas. "‘Undefeatable' isn't really even a word," Todd explains. "It isn't a word because it's never needed to be a word. Every empire, every dynasty, they all eventually lost. They faded. They were defeated. But God, His power, His might does not wane. It goes back to the idea we started with. God is the main player in the story. It's not me fighting the battle, it's Him."
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Todd Agnew [How to be Loved]| Posted March 13, 2012 Todd Agnew, the worship leader, musician and songwriter behind hit songs “Grace Like Rain” and “My Jesus,” is unveiling his newest collection of music, How to be Loved.Opening song “The One You Want” was co-written with Jason Ingram, and displays a softer side of Todd Agnew who opened his first three albums with the rockers “Reached Down,” “Something Beautiful” and “Still Has A Hold.” Agnew’s last album Need ushered in Todd’s ‘joy unspeakable’ of being a newlywed and his trademark songwriting expressing biblical truth in personal lyrics including the standout song “Did You Mean Me?” If you like that song, then don’t miss out on How to be Loved which is chock full of Todd’s personal thoughts on love and life the way God see us instead of from our broken perspective. Todd opens the album with the lyrics: “I can’t let You see me this way.” That’s how we all feel with God a lot of the time. We’re ashamed of who we are and want to repair ourselves before turning to Him. The vulnerable and personal song declares: “It’s hard for me to believe I could be lovely in Your eyes, that I’m really the one You want…And You love me, You love me still, You love me and You always will.” The next song, “Love Your Neighbor” keeps that theme going and reminds me of Todd’s great song “On A Corner In Memphis.” The bridge sums up the theme of the album, “You want me to finally be a reflection of You and You are Love.” Amen.
Agnew continues with the radio single “God Undefeatable.” “‘Undefeatable’ isn’t really even a word,” Agnew explains. “It isn’t a word because it’s never needed to be a word. Every empire, every dynasty, they all eventually lost. They faded. They were defeated. But God, His power, His might does not wane. It goes back to the idea we started with. God is the main player in the story. It’s not me fighting the battle, it’s Him.” Todd’s albums have all included congregational worship songs like “Our Great God” and “Glorious Day” and this song for the Church and closing song “Your Great Name” are instantly sing-able and worshipful arrangements that you’ll want to add to your Sunday morning set-list. “Letting Go” is a fantastic re-write of a classic hymn of the faith like “Grace Like Rain” and “I Need No Other” with “Letting Go” blending the lyrics “all to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all, all to Thee my Blessed Savior” with “I’m letting go of the chains that are holding me down, I’m letting go of the lies I believed…when I let go of my life, You give me Yours, so I’m letting go.”
“There Is Coming A Day” features Todd’s signature powerful vocals and his deep faith in God’s redemption and is a great reminder to sing of God’s soon return where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow and no more pain. “Loved” is a wonderful profession of Todd’s journey from singleness to married life, his spiritual growth and learning “How to be Loved.” The parallel of marital love and the Love of our Savior is striking in the chorus, “You say you love me…and it’s hard to believe, but you’re teaching me how to be loved.” “Give What’s In Your Hand” has that Memphis bluesy musical style that I’ve always loved in Todd’s music combined with the call to action: “we are called to be Jesus’ hands and feet, you gotta give what’s in your hand, when you see the need of your fellow man, you don’t have to save the world, just do what you can.” Amen to that. “Don’t You Think” is a great depiction of God’s Word applying to us with the biblical references of Peter and the rich young ruler apply to all of us in the words: “the same invitation He gave to His disciples, Jesus gave to me, to be my everything.”“House of Boxes” is a stirring story-song about when Agnew bought his first house, moved back to Texas and became a husband and stepfather all in the course of a weekend. I love the soothing message: “As long as I’m holding your hand, I’m already home.” Closing worship song “Your Great Name” is an incredible song for worshippers also recorded by Natalie Grant and written by Michael Neale and Krissy Nordhoff. The main message of the song is to hold on to the Name of Jesus, as something better is coming. The grace that God offers in the crux of the song, ultimately the incredible bridge “Redeemer, My Healer, Almighty, My Savior, Defender, You are My King” is what really moves me and guides me in my Christian walk, which is to live everyday for Heaven. This is an amazing song to sing at the top of our lungs “Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man, You are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise Your great name.” Amen.
How to be Loved is my new favorite overall album by Todd Agnew, surpassing the excellent Reflection of Something. There’s biblical truth married to personal lyrics in the songs “The One You Want,” “There Is Coming A Day,” “Loved,” “Don’t You Think” and the stunning “House of Boxes.” “God Undefeatable,” “Letting Go” and “Your Great Name” are incredible songs for the Church that are all instantly sing-able and worshipful arrangements that you’ll want to add to your Sunday morning set-list. We often feel ashamed and unworthy of God’s perfect Love, but that’s the point. We aren’t worthy and God still wants all of us and loves us deeply. This entire album is about giving and accepting love. How to be Loved is one of the top albums of the year.