Our Past (Tony Ferraro): Study Guide

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Bottom Line

We are free from trying to change our past when we understand His promise to redeem it. 

Study Verses

2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:4-5, James 5:16, John 4:1-42

Key Points

  • Our past can infiltrate our present and influence our future.
  • Past experiences can get in the way of what God intended: change.
  • We hide from our past because of shame, judgment, and disappointment.
  • For God to transform our character He must have access to “all of us”, including our past and our future.
  • We must learn from our past…not be defined by it. 
  • If we allow our past experiences to define our future, our future will look no different than our past. 
  • We must review our past experiences looking for God’s presence instead of using it to build a case for not moving forward. 
  • God uses us as instruments in the lives of others. God chooses us despite our past.
  • God can take any brokenness and turn it into a perfect picture of His love. 

ENCOUNTER

  • God can take any brokenness and turn it into a perfect picture of His love. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do? How does your answer influence what you do with your own brokenness?
  • Over the years, how have you lived your life in the rear view mirror? In what ways has your past influenced your present and future?
  • What does it mean that God redeems our past? What do we get wrong when it comes to understanding redemption?

FORMATION

  • Read John 4:1-42. What can we learn about God’s heart and concern for our past by the way Jesus interacts with the Samaritan woman? Why do you believe God choose this woman to make a difference in her own community?
  • Read James 5:16. What role does community play in helping to heal and process our brokenness and the scars of the past?
  • Read Ephesians 2:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. What happens to our identity, as well as our past, when we encounter and accept Christ’s love? What freedom does Christ provide in dealing with the scars of our past?

EXPRESSION

  • What scars of the past still sting and are holding you back from walking in freedom? What makes them so painful? How have you allowed these scars to define you?
  • What would it look like for God to free you from your past?
  • How can your past empower God’s story and give other people hope? How can you turn your scars into stories of hope and redemption?
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