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So far Angela has created 21 blog entries.

Join us ONLINE for REDEEMED

Hey everybody!!

I’m so excited to begin REDEEMED with you this coming Thursday, April 20th. If you don’t already have your member book, I hope you can get your hands on one soon. Check your local LifeWay store, LifeWay online or the store here on our website to get your member book.

To participate in the study, you’ll need to sign up for the free video downloads here.

On Thursday, you’ll receive the link to Video 1. It’s my version of an introductory video to set up the content and style of the study, then we’ll begin the first day of the workbook on Friday.

I’m gonna try my very best to interact with you everyday. I’m not sure I can respond to all your comments or questions, but I’ll do what I can that day! While we’ll be doing this study together, our daughter is expecting our first grandchild, one child will graduate college and three others will finish their spring semester (Read: Will need their mama to help them move home and then help them pack and get to their summer commitments). Just like you, we’re got a lot going on! And with children, the month of May just seems to cave in on top of you. All the more reason to take a little time with our Redeemer everyday!

Please don’t worry about getting behind, or not staying on the same day with all of us. I’ll try to post my comments with a clear reference to the day of the study I’m referring to.

LifeWay has built a comment area here. It’s a place for you to comment, interact and encourage one another, etc. I’ll post my daily comments there and also on all of my social media outlets.

This is my first-time hosting one of my studies online, so I’m excited to walk these next six weeks with you. Please know I’m praying for you. My husband, Scott is praying for you. My friends who pray for me are praying for you! This is gonna be fun, but more than anything, I’m praying for God’s power as you spend time in His word and in His presence.

The Redeemer keeps redeeming our lives until we see Him face to face. May we all keep being redeemed.

I love you so.

Angela

Join us ONLINE for REDEEMED2018-02-21T12:26:35+00:00

The REDEEMED Bible Study

I guess I’ve written, and re-written, this note to you no less than six times in the past few weeks. I have good news to share. A new work to announce. But it hasn’t been the right time to tell you one more thing about me. I’m actually re-writing this note again today, but more at peace with it’s timing and message.

This past year, I’ve written a new Bible Study called REDEEMED. LifeWay will release this new DVD study on August 1st. Several months ago, we all imagined a “marketing campaign” would roll out this summer, promoting the content of the study. We brainstormed many creative ideas to let folks know the study is coming soon.

I’m writing to you this morning after the most recent senseless killing of three Baton Rouge police officers, with three other officers injured. Amid each new report of tragedy in our country, or around the world, I could not find a way to “promote” my work or celebrate it’s release. I couldn’t stomach the thought of tweeting pithy words about myself, or encouraging you to pre-order a book.

Watching the news last night with our family, my daughter voiced the question we’re all asking, “What can we do?” I told her the only thing I knew, “Until God shows us what else to do, we must be diligent to pray. This thing will not change until the souls of men and women are redeemed and then, keep being redeemed by the grace and mercy of God.”

Last night, I felt God release me to tell you about this new study called REDEEMED. Not for the purpose of lifting up my name, or celebrating my accomplishment, but simply because of it’s message. REDEEMED is a study centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. The aims of the study are:

  • To teach the Biblical truths of redemption in simple and understandable ways.
  • To invite those who are not followers of Jesus to follow Him. To be redeemed.
  • To equip followers of Jesus to better understand their faith, so they can share their faith.
  • To challenge followers of Jesus to continue being redeemed in their everyday lives, in everyday ways.
  • To remind the followers of Jesus of the hope to which they’ve been called. The steadfast love of our Lord never ends.

With this announcement, I also want to honor the very beautiful people who worked diligently so the REDEEMED message could be delivered in the most useful and glorifying ways possible. These people possess hearts so good and so wide that I do not want their diligent and faithful work to be lost in my reluctance to “promote myself” during these turbulent days. They persevere and serve behind the scenes, not to be known, but to make Jesus known and I bless them.

LifeWay Christian Resources in all its departments and capacities. It’s an honor to partner with your people and your mission.

The staff at LifeWay Customer Care. They are right not to call you the sales department because you actually have a phone and email ministry to the people who serve churches and organizations all over this world. Thank you for what you do in the unseen to spread the fame of our Redeemer. A special thank you to Patrick Canfield for all the care you give to this author.

LifeWay Christian Stores. I do not know how many times I have heard the same story from a hurting person: I walked into a LifeWay store not knowing what I needed. The person there listened to my story, guided me to just the right book, prayed with me and encouraged me. Thank you for the tireless ways you serve the Redeemer and His message.

Faith Whatley – Thank you for being the kind of woman who models what it looks like to be filled with the tender love of Christ and lead with purpose from the strength of His wisdom.

Amy Lowe – Thank you for managing a publishing world of messengers and messages with grace and poise, kindness and compassion. Thank you holding up the arms of so many and exalting the name of Jesus. Thank you for holding up mine.

Michelle Hicks – Thank you for being a tireless champion of the work God calls others to do. Your ministry does not measure people by status, only by their heart. You rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, and your love for me is my blessing.

Rick Simms and my entire LifeWay Production team – Bill Cox, Steve Fralick, James Patterson, Lisa Turner, Greg Smith, Justin Wylie, Mike Breece, and Eugene Whitaker. Thank you for your diligent, creative, prayer-filled work to reach this world with the good news of the Redeemer. I am humbled by your excellence.

Heather Wetherington, Matt Lehman – Thank you for a REDEEMED cover that is both relevant to our message and our culture.

Angela Reed – Thank you for the patient attention you gave to every REDEEMED word and your commitment to the centerpiece of the gospel on each page.

Larissa Roach – Thank you for the creativity and enthusiasm you bring as we invite the whole world, Come and be redeemed!

HomeLife Magazine and David Bennett – Thank you for inviting me to welcome readers to HomeLife and the encouragement you give to families every single day.

Paige Greene – Thank you for inviting this messenger to speak the message of REDEEMED. Even more, thank you for walking alongside me in all these years of being redeemed.

Carol Maxwell, Michelle Parrazzo and Ashley Ethridge – You ministered the grace of God as you cared, laughed, sang, organized and step-by-step, walked me through the details of filming REDEEMED.

This world continues to prove what many of us have already realized for ourselves, we cannot be changed, or forgiven, or transformed by our own strength. Each one of us desperately needs a Savior and Jesus is the answer, Jesus is the way.

I’m humbled to offer this study to you during these days. This is not the way, and these are not the days, I would have chosen. I pray nothing I post, nor any word I write, will fall on your ears as self-promotion. The timing of this feels all wrong, and yet, I now believe the timing is exactly right. We must be redeemed.

And so, I offer this project to you, wrapped in my prayers,

May we all be redeemed by the grace and mercy of Jesus. And then, as the redeemed, may the everyday details of our hearts and lives continue being changed by His grace, for His glory. Father, come redeem our minds, our hearts, our motives, our speech, our dreams, and our actions. Teach us how to truly love as You love, serve as You serve, bless as You bless, see as You see and speak as You speak. Do not let us grow weary in becoming the more true and beautiful image of Your Son. And sweet, blessed Lord, will you begin right here with me?  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Humbled by my need. Grateful for God’s grace. I am redeemed. And I am being redeemed.

With love,

Angela Thomas Pharr

The REDEEMED Bible Study2018-02-21T12:26:36+00:00

Dear Cam Newton

Dear Mr. Newton,

We’ve never officially met. Probably never will.

I have no idea if you’re a nice person. Or have morals. Or live with integrity. Or, like they say in the media, really do think too highly of yourself.

But I can see a couple of things.

Your strength, agility and acuity are gifts from God. As you already know, you are not the only person to ever receive those gifts. But you are one of the rare gifted, who has chosen to do the private work no one ever will ever see. People don’t improve themselves because they keep doing things the same old way. They don’t get better by ignoring the advice of coaches and teachers. They don’t shine because they take things personally, pout and whine. It takes a certain kind of humility to improve. The kind of private humility that concedes, The way I have been can become better. How I’ve always done it, may not be the best way. My attitude was embarrassing, but I can change.

The person who improves is the person who humbly faces their private truth, then does the hard work to change. No one ever wakes up one morning, and lo and behold, overnight, they’ve become better than ever, with a better attitude, playing at the top of their game.

 

Every Sunday afternoon, you give evidence of the work we’ll never see.

And about all that celebrating and dancing and smiling. I haven’t seen every move or gesture. Maybe you’ve over-stepped or over-dabbed, I don’t know. All I know is, I hope you never lose your joy.

As the mom of daughters and sons, I’ve spent a lot of time watching the other game of futbol. And I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to cultivate joy in my kid’s hearts. In this crazy world, where evil abounds, and cool is always beyond our reach, the good expression of joy is so rare. Actually, too many of us have almost lost the ability to feel and respond with a healthy, right-placed, joy or sadness.

Seems like we’d be a lot better off if more people stood in front of their TV to cry and fuss and scold when evil displaces refugees, or enslaves women and children, or hordes money intended to feed the starving. Then, what if those same people stood to high five, and holler, and dab when good triumphs over evil, and lives are saved, and even when their favorite QB flies over a tall heap of linemen.

Shoot, in the little things, and in the gigantic things, I just wish we could all do a little better hurting for others when they hurt, and rejoicing with others when they rejoice. I think your great, big smile reminds a lot of people they have forgotten the joy of working hard. They have forgotten that some things are just flat-out fun. And maybe they have forgotten how to feel anything, until they watch you feel something.

I’m not saying I hope my kids grow up to be like Cam Newton, because I really don’t know you that well. But I do hope they appreciate the gifts God has given to them. I hope they humbly receive every instruction intended to help them become better. I hope they are willing to do the hard work no one will ever see. I hope they walk confidently onto the field of their chosen profession, and do the very best version of that thing they were made to do. And through every attack, and every tackle, and every get-up-and-do-it-again, I hope their hearts are filled with a joy this world cannot remove.

Next weekend at our house, we’ll throw our semi-famous Super Bowl party. We’ll have TVs and crazy, awesome food and college kids and high school students and a bunch of parents. Much as we respect Peyton, it will be an all-Panther house this year. We’re gonna have a blast watching you smile and dab and give away footballs. Then, come Monday morning, we’ll all go back to doing our thing.

I should tell you, I’m just a football watcher. Not a fanatic, or even a very good fan. I don’t know how fast you can run or how many TD passes you’ve thrown. You are not my role model, or my superman. I’ve tried to center my life around one man. Jesus Christ is my idol. My hero. My game-changer. My coach. My #1.

But Mr. Cam Newton, you sure do help us remember to make more room for joy. And I celebrate you and the joy you bring. If I was your mama I’d tell you a real and abiding joy is the greater victory, and when you have that, you have already won. Now get yourself out there on that field and light it up. Or as I say to my kids, Be the Sunshine!

And one more thing, Mr. Newton. Go Panthers!

© 2016, Angela Thomas Pharr. Angela is wife to Scott and mom to Taylor, Grayson, Storm, William and AnnaGrace. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Dallas Theological Seminary. Angela is a best-selling author and speaker who is every single day, humbled and grateful to do this thing God made her to do. You can find out more than anyone ever wanted to know at angelathomas.com.

Dear Cam Newton2018-02-21T12:26:36+00:00

Count the Days

I just took William to his first day of preschool. Blink.

Yesterday, he began his last year of high school. Blink. Blink.

And the whole thing went exactly like they said.

When I gave birth to my baby, they told me to take it all in because the days would go fast, and I nodded. When I wondered if he’d ever sleep through the night, they warned me not to wish away one day. I thought I understood.

Today, everything in me wants to yell, Would the whole, wide world please stop talking to me about college? Don’t you know that my boy just started preschool?! And while you’re at it, would you all stop rushing me along? I’m just about to figure out how to be his mom.

But here we are. It’s William’s senior year.

For the record, every smart person who admonished me with a sassy, Oh, honey, he’ll be grown before you know it, was right. They were so dang right. And this very minute, it’s awful how completely right they still are. I have officially decided to never say that to anybody, ever. When you cannot change the length of one day, it kills you to be reminded, over and over, of how it’s all gonna be gone before you know it. Then, when they’re right, and the years are gone, you’re mad at everybody who ever said it.

My first 18 years on this earth lasted an eternity. I was there. I lived them. And I can still testify to the truth of it. Growing up took for-ev-er. When the first 18 years feel like an eternity, a mom cannot anticipate what will happen on the day her baby takes his first breath. I’ll tell you what happened. When my son was born, his first breath turned science on its head and blew up every space-time theory I memorized in physics.

Scholars might define time as the continued progression of existence and events in apparently irreversible succession. Then mathematicians would add that when you use the same interval (one year) to measure the same progression (the earth’s trip around the sun), the answer will always be the same. One year is one lap around the solar system, is four seasons, is twelve months, is 365ish days. When our boys become 18, they will have circled the same sun, and celebrated on the same day, the same number of times. The time that measures their years is all the same, scientifically speaking.

Moms with seniors in high school know all that gobbledygook is a big, fat lie.

Science, schmience.

Something happens the day they are born that quantum physics cannot explain. It’s a factor for which science has no measure. When a mother falls in love with her child, equations can no longer compute the length of days. The earth may circle the sun at exactly the same pace, but when days have been wrapped in a mother’s love, time is never measured the same. And this is the thing no one tells you.

To love a child changes everything. Every. Single. Thing.

All the science breaks down in the light of a mother’s love. Theories get rewritten. Logic is ruined. And time—well, when a mother loves a child, the time we have will never be enough.

If you’re not there yet, one of those days will finally be the first day of your son’s senior year. On that day, here’s what I want you to do.

Make sure you walk him outside where you can take his smirky first-day-of-school picture. Stand there and smile while he runs back into the house for things he’s forgotten. The years have taught you well and now it’s fun to know what’s coming. Watch him get all that stuff into his car, readjust his seat, and then take way too long to find just the right back-to-school music. Now wave like crazy as backs his car down the drive and then turns it toward the most exciting year he’s ever known. This is a good day, I promise. You’ve worked like a mad woman to keep that boy alive and get him safely here. It’s a really good day.

When you’re back in the house, I want you to take a few quiet minutes to count it all up. The years. The days. The adventures. The tears. Before you leave the quiet, I want you to factor this equation. Add these things together:

All his years
+ all that you’ve given
+ all the places
+ all the people
+ every obstacle
+ every victory

I can tell you in advance, the sum total of your memories will not equal anything close to eighteen years. The math falls apart every time. You see, God gives moms a greater gift with an equation that usually goes like this:

(Your son’s days) + (all your memories) x (the power of a mother’s love) = a blink.

If you count every one of his days until they are done and the sum total of it all is a blink, get down on your hands and knees and praise the One who entrusted that boy to your love. God has given you a beautiful gift.

It’s the kind of gift that makes me wonder…When a mother’s love counts the days, is that the tiniest foreshadowing of what is yet to be? Maybe when we are in the presence of God’s love, trying to count eternity by years will require another kind of calculation altogether.

A hymn writer seemed to be thinking about that very thing when he wrote, “My soul will sing your praise unending, ten thousand years and then forevermore.” Just maybe it was God’s plan all along. Maybe, when we have known a mother’s love for her child, we have tasted the great love of heaven.

So yes, I will never again say to anyone, That baby will be grown and gone before you know it. When I see a sweet mama holding her new baby, I think what I’m supposed to say is this:

I pray God does for you what he did for me. I hope when your boy is grown and the years have gone by, all those days feel to you like a blink. I’ve learned that the only way a length of years can ever equal a blink is when they have been lived in the presence of indescribable love.

Oh mama, I hope you blink.

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
Psalm 90:4

 

Count the Days, is an excerpt from Angela's recent book, 52 Things Sons Need From Their Moms.

Count the Days2018-03-21T16:21:12+00:00