Chosen

I recently noticed a theme among the videogames I enjoy playing.  Not death or destruction, not sports, not Mario.  I like to play games where you are chosen.  I enjoy playing NCAA Football because you are constantly recruiting players, hoping the best ones will attend your school.  I like to play Mass Effect, because every conversation determines how loyal that teammate will be to me.  I like to play FIFA because you play through a season as a player and see which teams will bid for your services.  And honestly it’s probably why I don’t play huge role-playing games or the Sims, because it would be too addictive.

Being chosen is incredibly important to us.  And I have found a false way to feed that need. When the truth is, being married, I was chosen as a husband by an amazingly loving and beautiful woman. And being adopted, I was chosen as a son by a loving godly family. And being a Christian, I was chosen by the God of the universe.

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4, 5 ESV)

I have been chosen by God.  That should end any question of value on my part.  It’s is better than being chosen for any pickup game of basketball.  It is better than any girl’s affection.  It is better than having a hit radio song (in which case, you have to be chosen both by the music director at the radio station and by the people listening!).  And yet, I still doubt my worth.  I still wonder.  But Paul says here to the Thessalonians that we can know we are chosen.  There are three things we can look for in our lives, and in honor of preachers, they all start with C.

Change: When we are chosen, the gospel comes to us in power.  Power causes change.  So any good change in our lives is witness to the power of God moving in the ones He has chosen.

Connection: When we are chosen, the gospel comes to us in the Holy Spirit.  God connects us to Himself by putting part of Himself in us.  So any relationship we have with the Spirit, praying through Him, hearing from Him, is proof that we have been chosen.

Conviction: When we are chosen, the gospel comes to us in conviction.  God desires to see His chosen be perfected.  He is not satisfied to stand by and allow us to live mediocre lives.  One of the ways He affects our growth is conviction.  The Spirit cries out when we are choosing something apart from Him.  It is a cry of grief.  It is a call for change.  And it is God speaking into our lives.

So I am chosen.  Because I can look at my life and see how I have changed.  I couldn’t have accomplished that; God must have done it.  I can see that I have a connection with Him, which I obviously couldn’t have created or even earned.  And I definitely feel His conviction.  All these are signs to remind me that I am chosen.  And that is enough for me.

Thoughts?

Todd

 

 

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Gray/Agnew Fall Tour Weekend #6

Well, it’s over. If you missed it, then you missed out on one of the best tours I’ve ever been a part of. If we didn’t make it to you, then I wish we could have. It has really been a wonderful tour. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very glad to be home. That’s way better than tour. But I’m still a little sad that it’s over. Jason is a wonderful artist and a good friend. Spencer and Nate also grew into friends during our time together and I am so grateful for all the work they did as a part of this tour.

The weekend started in Wilmington, NC. I’ve played there a number of times, but I had no idea that Jason owns that town! I was just riding on his coattails, but it was a lot of fun. We met some great families, and were very thankful both for the Hartsells and the church. It was a great night.

Then we jumped in the van to head to Fredericksburg, VA. We had another good night with Positive Hits radio and their great listeners. We did have the most awkward moment of the tour, which I could try to explain, but honestly, you just had to be there.  Jason was pretty sick that night, but he pushed through, and did a great job.

Saturday we were in Bethalto, IL. Another wonderful night. Spencer’s family got to come out and we enjoyed seeing them. Since it was almost the end of the tour, I busted out When Love Comes To Town for Jason. It’s one of his favorites. I hadn’t played it in a long time, and I remembered why it’s such a great song.

We finished Sunday night in Smithfield, PA. Jason was under the weather again, but he made it through. I felt it was a really honest night. We were quite obviously engaged and giving our all, but also weary.

And then we went home. Sad to see it go, glad to be home. Maybe we can do it again sometime.

Anyone want to share thoughts from the tour?

Todd

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A Day of Glory

My church, Austin Stone Community Church, released our first Christmas record today. Most of it is live with three new songs we wrote at the end. I really hope that it blesses your family this Christmas. I led one song live (Hallelujah, What A Savior) and wrote another (How Great Is Our Joy). God is doing some wonderful things at our church and I’m so glad we get to share the Christmas season with you. It’s a worship album, not just popular Christmas songs with sleigh bells. Not that there’s anything wrong with sleigh bells. Anyway, I’ll include a link below so you can find it easily.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/day-glory-songs-for-christmas/id576399989

If you get the record and listen to it, please comment below and let us know what you think. Thanks,

Todd

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Gray/Agnew Fall Tour Weekend #5

What a unique weekend!  We started in Henryville, IN, a little north of Louisville, KY.  This town had really been torn up by a tornado this spring, and the church brought us in as an encouragement to their people.  We had a really great night. Wonderful pastor and great people.

The next day we were in Wabash IN at the Eagles Theater. Cool theater, wonderful hotel across the street.  Good night, slightly overshadowed by this strange moment near the end of the night. Jason and I had gotten off on this weird tangent (which, of course, is very rare), and we were talking about recording vocals when you’re sick.  At which point, someone in the audience yells out, “Kiss him!” I’m not exactly sure who she was talking to, but regardless, that did not happen.  It did win the award for most awkward moment of the tour.

Saturday, we were supposed to play an outdoor show after dark, and it was going to get down into the 30′s. Fortunately they chose to move it indoors, which also helped with the Inferno 2012 theme.  Not that it was hot inside, just hotter than freezing.  Still, we had a good night with some great people.  We got to have dinner with our friend Brenda who was celebrating her birthday.

And Sunday was easily the best night of the tour.  We had a sold out show in Liberty Township, Ohio.  And the people were wonderful.  It was a safe place full of people who had come to encounter Jesus and worship Him.  I played a few songs everyone knew and then switched gears and taught them “You Are Good” off H2BL.  They jumped in and we had a powerful evening.  I also included Sometimes By Step, an old favorite from Rich Mullins.  Jason and I both played some really vulnerable songs in the second half of the night.  It was a really amazing evening and I am very grateful for all who came, not only that night but all weekend.

We only have one more weekend, but it’s a big one.  Five shows, across North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and ending in Texas.  I will be sad to see this tour end, but I’m sure we will have a great weekend.  Thanks to everyone who has been a part, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of you this weekend.

Todd


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