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Rethinking Religion and Its Rules • 8-Part Study


For several decades after Jesus's death and resurrection, Peter told others about all of the firsthand experiences he had with Jesus. Later in life—possibly in prison and not sure of his future—Peter wanted to ensure that all of those stories were documented. So he asked his traveling companion, Mark, to write down not what he had heard or read—but what he had seen.

Part 1 • Write This Down

Andy Stanley

We often read the Bible for application, inspiration, or direction. However, there are times when the author wants to simply point the reader to a big idea—an idea that fits with God's grand story. In the Gospel of Mark, we read about Peter's experience with Jesus that led Peter to believe in one big idea: The kingdom of God is near, and everyone is invited to participate.

Part 2 • Unsettling

Andy Stanley

Jesus ignored certain religious protocols; He claimed to have authority to forgive sin; He was uncomfortably comfortable with unrepentant sinners. In this message, we hear about three encounters that showed Jesus came to reverse the order of things.

Part 3 • Flipping the Script

Andy Stanley

Whether it’s school, sports, or religion, when we focus only on the rules, it can be difficult to remember the overall purpose of something. Jesus reminds us that when we focus so much on the letter of the law, we may forget why the law was written in the first place.

Part 4 • Loophole Religion

Andy Stanley

From an early age, we learn quickly to look for loopholes in the rules. We try to figure out what we can get away with and still be okay. We tend to take this same mindset into our relationship with God, but it doesn’t work. When we opt for loopholes and workarounds, we find ourselves in a category no one wants to be in—hypocrites. Jesus calls us to move beyond loophole religion.

Part 5 • Kingdom Great

Andy Stanley

Fear invites us to follow the path of self-preservation. However, if we follow that path long enough, we will neither preserve nor have anything to show for our lives. Jesus’s original disciples had the same tendency at times. On one occasion, Jesus reminded them of what it meant to follow him by saying four powerful words that still apply to his followers today.

Part 6 • Fortune-Teller

Andy Stanley

Many times, our faith deteriorates as our circumstances deteriorate. When that happens, our faith is quickly overcome by fear, and the future looks dark. The apostle Peter experienced this, and he temporarily fled his faith in Jesus.

Part 7 • The End of the Beginning

Andy Stanley

We all have embarrassing moments we can laugh about—later. There are shameful times we would give anything to undo. But while our pasts remind us, they don’t have to define us.

Part 8 • The Day No One Believed

Andy Stanley

When Jesus died, hope died along with him. No one was planning to keep this new movement going because, after all, it seemed Jesus wasn’t who he had claimed to be. Immediately following the crucifixion, there were no Christians because there was no Christ. But then something happened.