Named by God Bible Study: Overcoming your past, transforming your present, embracing your future

Named by God Bible Study: Overcoming your past, transforming your present, embracing your future

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by Kasey Van Norman

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You’ve read the book; now do the study! Kasey Van Norman invites you to join her on a six-week journey of total spiritual transformation. This interactive study will equip you to move beyond past hurts, bring power into your present circumstances, and ignite a victorious faith for your future.

Whatever season of life you may find yourself in, Named by

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You’ve read the book; now do the study! Kasey Van Norman invites you to join her on a six-week journey of total spiritual transformation. This interactive study will equip you to move beyond past hurts, bring power into your present circumstances, and ignite a victorious faith for your future.

Whatever season of life you may find yourself in, Named by God will guide you into a more intimate and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. As Kasey shares personal stories from her heart and reveals what God’s Word really says about you, you will find the freedom and spiritual vitality that your heart is longing for.

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Tyndale House Publishers
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named by God Bible Study

overcoming your past, transforming your present, embracing your future
By kasey van norman


Copyright © 2012 Kasey Van Norman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-6475-9

Chapter One

Week 1


Recommended Reading from Named by God: Introduction, chapters 1–3 Named by God Video Curriculum: DVD Session 1

As followers of Christ, some of us have no idea just how much power we have through Jesus. Here's what we need to understand: who we are doesn't determine how we act; who we think we are determines how we act. And for so many of us, our thought processes remain tainted by past disappointments, suffering, and hardship.

If we think we are mistakes, we will go through life making mistakes. If we think we are undeserving, we will live defeated lives. If we think we must spend all our time running from our pasts, we will live in a continual state of chaos. And if we think we are only by-products of other people's sin, we will keep choosing sin over the power God offers.

Let me fill you in on a truth about your past: God wants to use it to set the stage for a miracle in your present. Believe me—anyone God has ever raised up in the present had a history of some kind of sin and disappointment in his or her past.

When God comes to Moses in Exodus 3 and a bush begins to burn with the glory of God, Moses (whose past includes murder) responds with, "Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?" (verse 11). When God appears to Isaiah in chapter 6 of the book Isaiah, the prophet's response to God is, "It's all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips" (verse 5). In Luke 5:8, when Jesus does a large-scale miracle for his disciples (former fishermen with no real training or prestige), Peter exclaims, "Oh, Lord, please leave me—I'm too much of a sinner to be around you."

These responses are on track—we should be increasingly aware of our sin the closer we get to God's holiness. Yes, we are sinful. Yes, we have a past that is filled with sins we've committed against others and sins others have committed against us. Yes, we've disappointed others, and others have disappointed us. We have all fractured the image of God. But ... (That's one of my favorite words in the Bible—but.)

This week we will begin to lay the groundwork for the "but" in your life.

You are unworthy, but ... You come from a broken home, but ... You are a sinner, but ... You have a past, but ... You have become completely stagnant in your relationship with the Lord, but ...

* * *

This week is all about going back before we can move forward—recognizing where we come from so we can think clearly about where we are going. Once we can get our heads on straight about who we are in Christ, we can then begin to live in Christ's power on a daily basis.

We begin our journey with an overview of who we were at birth, as well as who has influenced us since then. I told you this wasn't going to be light and fluffy! This week is perhaps one of the most difficult of our journey together, so let's go in fighting. Commit to following through and being persistent. Be prayerful, accurate, and thorough as you read each passage and complete each exercise. Keep in mind that you only have one audience—this book is between you and God alone. He is the only one who will be checking your answers, and he expects complete openness and honesty. See it through to the end, my friend—and don't forget we're in this together.

Group Session 1

(To be completed along with the Named by God video curriculum, preferably in a group setting.)

To fully grasp what it means to live as one named by God, it is critical that we start our journey at the beginning—yes, I mean the literal beginning. You may think Genesis is simply the story of a fellow named Adam and a gal named Eve, but the truth is, you and I are just as much the main characters as they are.

Our role in this story begins in Genesis 3. If you fail to understand this chapter, nothing in the Bible—or in your life—will make sense.

1. You must understand your adversary for three reasons:

He is ______________ than you. He has more ____________than you. He is bent on ____________ you.

2. First Satan's strategy is to target your freewill hub—your.

The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die." Genesis 2:15-17

Satan wants you to overlook all of your freedom and focus in on the one restriction.

3. Next, Satan wants to plant a seed of in your mind of God's faithfulness.

4. Third, Satan will direct you to the one lie that has plagued human history since Genesis 3— that you can be your own ___________________ and not face any consequences—otherwise known as ____________________.

5. Satan wants to create an atmosphere for you to linger in just long enough for you to sin.

So what's your fig leaf?

Our sin is the problem. But we can't see that because of our pride.

The man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. Then the Lord God said, "Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!" So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. Genesis 3:20-23

6. God made our very first parents, adam and Eve, and we are a _______________ of that.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. Colossians 2:13-15

Day 1

Just Born with It

No matter who we are or how we grew up, all of humanity has this in common: we're all born as a result of the union of one man and one woman. Each of us has a mother and a father. Whether they are current heroes in your life or you've never seen their faces, the fact remains that you are a genetic product of your parents' union. For some of us, childhood and adolescence were shaped by the two people who match our DNA. Others grew up in an environment with just one person or no one who shares our bloodline.

I would love to spend time unpacking the various backgrounds we might have been raised in. But for the purpose of this study, we will focus on one word to describe the people who have known us "since we were knee high," as my grandfather would say: family. Like it or not, if we are going to talk out our pasts, we have to address that tricky topic.

At this point, some of you are breathing a sigh of relief. You're thinking, Okay, I can handle this. I grew up in a good Christian home. My parents stayed together. I had everything I needed, and I was taught to know God and to walk in his ways. And to that I say, "Praise God!" As a parent myself, I know how difficult it can be to pray for and direct your children in this dark world. I thank God for the parents who call on him for guidance as they take on the big responsibility of training the next generation. But even if you had a positive childhood experience, I believe you'll benefit from looking into your past.

For others, the very thought of discussing family may sound terrifying. You may be thinking, What family? My dad left my mom for another woman when I was a kid. My mom had to work three jobs just to provide for us, which left her no time for making supper, let alone offering spiritual guidance. My siblings and I had to take care of ourselves ... and we still do!

Wherever you find yourself, I'd like to encourage you to take a moment to pray. Ask God to grant you a very real look at your family—the people who raised you. I want you to think about your childhood, your teenage years, or any season when you relied on someone else to provide for you and protect you. If there are mental roadblocks, simply ask God for a clear, objective picture of your family.

We're going to spend some time thinking about how our families have shaped the people we are. But before we begin, take the opportunity to pray through your upbringing, thanking God for the good parts and asking him to redeem the broken ones.

1. Think of three significant events from your past that have influenced who you are today. What would it look like for God to redeem those situations? It's just you and the Lord right now—allow him to reveal these truths to you. ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

2. Okay, you got it? Now fill in the following information to the best of your ability.

Your name (given at birth) ___________________________________________________________________________

Biological father's name (if known) ___________________________________________________________________________

Biological mother's name (if known) ___________________________________________________________________________

Father figure's name (if different from above) ___________________________________________________________________________

Mother figure's name (if different from above) ___________________________________________________________________________

List siblings or other family members (if any) who lived with you at any time in your household. ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________

Now, this next step may take a little effort, especially if your childhood came with its set of challenges. But hang in there and trust God to give you revelation and to be there with you.

I don't know about you, but in my home we collect a lot of trash. Dirty diapers, uneaten food, credit card applications—you name it! Once my husband takes the trash to the curb, though, I forget about it—out of sight, out of mind. But guess what? The guys who get paid to pick it up and haul it away from my house don't forget about it. They have to remember, or else it will build up on my front lawn in a smelly, nasty pile of filth.

So this is my challenge to you today. We don't need to wallow in or get buried by our trash, but we can't just ignore it. We have to sort through it to find what we need to get rid of and what we need to keep. We can't just put it outside and forget about it—we have to allow God to deal with it for good.

Come on—let's dig together.

Now we are going to gather a bit more information about the people we listed. In the next section I have designated a place for mother, father, and siblings. Under each heading, I want you to think of at least three traits—positive and negative—that this person possessed. Whether that characteristic made a direct impact on your life or not, write down what you are able to remember. These traits can be personality attributes, behaviors, or lifestyle patterns. Do your best to keep your emotions out of it; try to be as factual as possible. If any recollection is a bit fuzzy, don't write it down. To get you started, I have shared a few of my own family memories.

Mother (or Mother Figure)

Positive traits: Put my siblings and me first; supported us in everything we did; loved the Lord

Negative traits: Divorced my father; struggled with her sense of self-worth; carried a lot of guilt

Father (or Father Figure)

Positive traits: Hard worker; dependable; enjoyed keeping things clean and functioning well

Negative traits: Workaholic; struggled to display his love; struggled with losing his temper

Now it's your turn.

Mother (or Mother Figure)

Positive traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Negative traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Father (or Father Figure)

Positive traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Negative traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Siblings (or Others Present in Your Home)


Positive traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________

Negative traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________


Positive traits: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________


Excerpted from named by God Bible Study by kasey van norman Copyright © 2012 by Kasey Van Norman. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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