Mere Christians

Mark Batterson (Author of Please, Sorry, Thanks)

Episode Summary

The danger in treating the Great Commission like the only commission

Episode Notes

The best “please” Mark has ever received to speak at an event (and how you can mimic it), how an intern once confronted Mark with radical (but loving) candor, and why it’s so dangerous to treat the Great Commission as the only commission.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Transcription

[00:00:05] JR: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Mere Christians Podcast. I’m Jordan Raynor. How does the gospel influence the work of mere Christians? Those of us who aren’t pastors or religious professionals, but who work as food scientists, executive assistants, and railroad conductors. That's the question we explore every week. Today, I'm posing it to my friend, Mark Batterson.


He's the founding pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC, and the author of some mammoth, bestselling books like The Circle Maker, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, and Win the Day.


Mark and I sat down for the second time on this show to talk about his newest book, Please, Sorry, Thanks. We talked about the best please mark has ever received to speak at an event and how you can mimic that type of please. We talked about how an intern once confronted mark with some radical, but loving candor. And we talked about why it's so dangerous to treat the Great Commission as the only commission that mere Christians are called to. Trust me, you're not going to want to miss this great episode with Mark Batterson.




[00:01:24] JR: Mark Batterson, my friend. Welcome back to the podcast.


[00:01:26] MB: Hey, great to be back with you, Jordan. Here we go.


[00:01:29] JR: Hey, I learned something new about you in this new book that I don't think I'd ever read before. Your first job at a gas station. How old were you? What were you doing?


[00:01:38] MB: Oh, you know it. I was probably – I might have been 17. And let me tell you what, I didn't pump the gas. Okay. It wasn't a full –


[00:01:47] JR: You're not that old?


[00:01:49] MB: No, I'm not. I'm not that old. I grew up watching Andy Griffith and Gomer Pile at the gas station. But I wore a beautiful brown uniform, quick filled gas station, and I pulled in the big bucks. I think we were at 5.25 an hour back in the day. You know what, though, Jordan? Hard jobs make you appreciate dream jobs.


I'll tell you this, I never encountered anybody that has a job that I'm guessing is not their dream job without tremendous respect for them. I have this foundational respect for people who – you know what, what they do is hard. But if they didn't do what they do, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. So, I just – yes, that's more than you're asking for but –


[00:02:41] JR: No. It’s not. That's exactly what I was asking for. I love that answer.


[00:02:44] MB: Jordan, let me flip it. Did you have any jobs? Because by the way, along with working at a gas station, one summer, I was a ditch digger. Now, we called ourselves dirt relocation engineers. That's how we fondly refer to ourselves as a little bit of reframing, and then I did when I was in grad school, I managed a storage facility. So, let me tell you, I started climbing the ladder. I love and appreciate those early jobs and makes me appreciate what I get to do now.


[00:03:16] JR: Yeah, I love it. I had some great hard jobs early on. I worked in a call center for a little bit one summer, which is brutal. Brutal.


[00:03:27] MB: I did some direct marketing. I was selling –


[00:03:29] JR: Really?


[00:03:30] MB: – soft ball videos to church bookstores. I'm not even kidding you. If you can sell those videos to church books, you can do about anything.


[00:03:42] JR: That's why you're such a good marketer. You had to sell softball videos to church bookstores. I love this so much. Look at this segue. Watch this. Speaking of church bookstores, you just released a new book. You see how smooth that was?


[00:03:57] MB: You’re good.


[00:03:59] JR: Tell us what this new book, Please, Sorry, Thanks is all about.


[00:04:02] MB: Please, Sorry, Thanks, three words that change everything. I really do think, if you're good at these three words, Jordan, you're good to go in marriage, in the workplace, even spiritually. Nothing opens doors like please. Nothing mends fences like sorry. Nothing builds bridges like thanks. Call me old fashioned, and it is a little bit of that ‘Win Friends and Influence People’.


I'm sure we'll get into some of the psychology of please, the sites of sorry, and the theology of thanks. But I think these are three predictors way beyond title or rank or resume. People who are good at these three words Jordan, you can't stop them. These three words take the ceiling off. And the people that I love to work with, the people that I will follow are people who are good at these three words.


[00:04:59] JR: I love that you brought up Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Man, I can tell you this because you’re a friend, when I first saw this title come out, my first thought was, “What is Mark doing? He is way too smart to be writing something so simplistic.” And then, my close second thought was, “This is Mark Batterson and there's a 0% chance that this book isn't great.” Sure enough, I'll be honest with you, I was blown away.


I think I highlighted more in this book than any other book you've written so far. I was so impressed by the anecdotes, and the science, and the one liners that you breeze past that could have easily been turned into full books. I loved it. I loved it. Hey, I emailed you a couple weeks ago and I asked you how you decide what to write next and I loved your response. I hope you don't mind me sharing it. It was basically like, “Hey, I write what's white hot in my spirit. When I'm writing something,” you said, “this is the most important book I've ever written.” Why was this topic so important to you at this particular time?


[00:06:05] MB: Yeah. I mean, you wouldn't think it's life or death, right? But the truth is, there are such low levels of civility in culture right now, and I think there's a lot of people who have just forgotten how to say please, sorry, and thanks. And it's both an art and a science. So, you said something just a minute ago that made me think of Oliver Wendell Holmes, who's one of my favorite people to quote, former, I think, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who by the way said, “A mind stretched by a new idea never returned to its original shape”, which is one of my all-time favorite quotes.


But he also said that there are two kinds of simplicity. There's simplicity on the near side of complexity, and we would call that ignorance. But then, there's simplicity on the far side of complexity. Honestly, Jordan, I think that's brilliant. So, to me, let's not overcomplicate this. It really does come back to basics. I don't care if you play professional basketball and you're working on ball handling drills, or you're a salesperson, or you're a barista that's pulling shots of espresso, just being really good at the basics is going to be the springboard to whatever it is that you do.


[00:07:28] JR: I love that so much. All right, let's get to work, applying this book to the mere Christians who are listening, and we might bounce around a lot because you do cover a lot of ground, a lot of highly relevant topics in this book. But let's start here. You recommended – I love this. You recommended in the book that our listeners add a hyphen to their occupation. You argue that they're not just doctors, not just teachers, not just baristas. But they’re doctor prophets, teacher-prophets, barista-prophets. What in the world do you mean by this?


[00:08:02] MB: I might add Uber-prophets. People who drive their Uber around. So, I think what I mean by that is, this is something that Moses said, and he said, “I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets.” I think it's Numbers 11, if I remember right. And it's this idea that – and I don't want to over spiritualize this, but Jordan, we track together and I'm guessing people who are listening can interpret this. You're the only Bible that some people will ever read, and you're the only church that some people will ever attend. So, whatever it is you do Monday to Friday, let's do it well.


Since we're on the subject of favorite quotes, Dorothy Sayers said, “I dare say, no ill-fitted drawers or crooked table legs ever came out of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth.” Drop the mic, Dorothy Sayers. That is an all-time favorite. I think doing what we do with excellence is one way that we glorify God. And that's like, maybe this is because we own and operate a coffee house on Capitol Hill. But it's not just pulling shots, but it's man, it's loving people who come in and they need a little bit of caffeine, but you can make their day. You can just do what you do and give them the drink or service with a smile, and you can try to make someone's day.


I just, I really think we need a rising tide of please, sorry, and thanks and then maybe we'll talk about this. You have to personalize your please. You have to signature your sorry. You have to thumbprint your thanks. So, in other words, how does Jordan say thanks? And how does Mark say thanks? But then how do I say thanks? What does that look like?


I just was talking with Bob Goff, whose name I think a lot of people will recognize. I love the way Bob Goff says goodbye. He runs down the dock. He's got a lodge in Canada. He runs down the dock waving, and then just jumps in the water while waving, Jordan. Who does that? Well, I mean, Bob Goff does that. That's kind of his signature goodbye. But that's what I'm talking about. How do we personalize this?


[00:10:21] JR: And 100%. And that's going to look different if you're a barista, or a teacher, or a doctor-prophet, right? The way you do that work is going to preach something different, and the way you use your words are going to create something different. You quoted this Jewish sage, Aquila, the translation is saying, “The tongue is a tool, having a knife at one end and a spoon at the other.” I love that. The power to give life, the power to take life. What habits do you have, Mark, that ensure that you're speaking life-giving words? Especially amongst the people that you work with Monday through, I don't know what your work days are, as a pastor. But you get what I mean.


[00:11:02] MB: Yeah, I mean, I do ask myself the question. Would I say this about this person if they were right here? That puts a filter on my words, that I want to be very careful, because we've tried to create a culture here where not only do we try to celebrate what we want to see more of, we try to brag about people behind their back. We want to fill the gas with positive assumptions. We want to catch people doing things right. We start every meeting by sharing wins.


There's this idea that the same word that you use for grace is a word that, by the way, can translate to charisma, which is kind of interesting. But there's this verse in Ephesians 4 that says, basically, let your words be gifts. So, I often wonder, because, Jordan, I bet there are people who just with a single sentence change the trajectory of your life. I know people have mine –


[00:12:05] JR: Give us an example of that.


[00:12:07] MB: Well, I mean, I remember as a teenager, I was at church at an altar, and a missionary was there and he was praying for me and then his prayer turned prophetic. I think it's only 10 words. But he said, “God is going to use you in a great way.” And that moment got locked in my mind, Jordan. It was a very fragile time. I just like, “What am I going to do? What is my life about?” Just that single sentence was a game changer for me.


So, let's recognize that our words literally have the power to change destinies. I mean, King Solomon said the power of life and death is in the tongue, and I would add the power of blessing and cursing, that sometimes, careless words can scar us. But life-giving words can then set us free. So, be careful little ears, what you hear. Be careful little mouth, what you say. We got to be good stewards of our words.


[00:13:16] JR: But it doesn't mean that we only utter words that will tickle the ears of our coworkers. You got it this in the book a little bit, right? You talked about the need for how radical candor can be life giving words. Can you define that term for us, radical candor, and how it can be a life-giving thing?


[00:13:39] MB: Yeah, I mean, there's a brilliant book by that title. I bet you've read it. I've read it. It's this idea of caring personally, while confronting directly. But, I mean, let's be honest. It really goes back to John 1, “Jesus was full of grace and truth.” Grace means, I'll forgive you no matter what. Truth means, I'll be honest with you, no matter what.


So, the way I see it, Jordan, is grace minus truth is weak sauce. Truth minus grace is hot sauce. But grace plus truth really is secret sauce, that it's being full of grace, full of truth. And when we relate to people that way, then relationships take on a depth, but they also take on a breath, and I think grace and truth are the foundation for any and every healthy and holy relationship.


[00:14:39] JR: So, this is so good. I love that you use the secret sauce line, because I love that in the book so much. Give us an example. Don't use names, take out sensitive details. But can you share an example of what this looks like with somebody on your team at National Community Church, where you deliver truth, you confront it directly, but you did in a gracious way, caring for them personally? Make this three dimensional for us.


[00:15:06] MB: Yeah. I mean, I remember years ago when an intern, an intern confronted me and said, “Hey, I think” – and I'll be honest, Jordan, I think he said, “I just sense that there's some pride behind what you're saying.” I couldn't believe it. And at first, we all get defensive.


[00:15:32] JR: Confirming the pride, right?


[00:15:33] MB: Yes. Exactly. But I remember thinking, “You know what? He's right.” Here's what I was doing, Jordan, and it's the classic mistake, we think we have to put others down to build ourselves up. I was not talking positively about some other churches, and I just made a decision at that point, you know what, I'm not going to play the game that way. I'm going to speak words of honor and respect towards others.


I'll just share, I have two rules of life that kind of have to do with this question, and I bet they'll be helpful to other people. One, everyone is my superior in some way, and that I learn from them. So, I always want to approach people as I have something to learn from you. And then the second one is everyone's fighting a battle I know nothing about. So maybe, just maybe, I ought to have an extra measure of grace towards the people in my life.


Jordan, I've learned that when people overreact to situations, they're not reacting to me. They're reacting to their past tense pain. And if I can be patient enough and loving enough, I might discover what's causing that trigger, what's causing that trauma, and we might be able to actually build a more meaningful, deeper relationship, if I don't just react to their reaction.


But you and I both know, it's awfully hard not to react to reactions, but to me, I'll stop preaching right after this, that this is the Sermon on the Mount, turn the other cheek. In other words, don't react, you have to do what's counterintuitive, and turn the other cheek, and maybe just maybe, you'll learn something about that person that might be the beginning of a deeper and more meaningful relationship.


[00:17:36] JR: Yeah, I think this framework, when it comes to radical candor is really helpful. Caring personally, confronting directly, because that is true love, right? True love doesn't gloss over real issues at work. I think of Proverbs 27:5, better is open rebuke, than hidden love. That's the contrast. Open rebuke and hidden love. But being radically candid. Yes, this is far from the only way we Christ followers can show love in the workplace.


You talked about another one in the book that I loved, is that you are posture amongst those that we engage with. This is related to one of your two roles of life. Can you explain what you mean by that term? How you came upon it? What it means for us?


[00:18:19] MB: Yeah, I have an 80-year-old mentor, spiritual father, a guy named Dick Folk, says there are two kinds of people in the world, here I am and there you are. The here I am person walks into a room and it's kind of about them. Their ego barely fits through the door. Let's be honest, people who are trying to impress other people are unimpressive. People who aren't trying to impress anybody are really impressive.


And that then brings up that second kind of person. There you are. Jordan, we've both been in some green rooms. I pay attention to the way people treat people. And I always want to be the person that's about others. How can I add value to your life? If it's not a win for you, it's not a win for me. This is not about my way or the highway. This is about, I genuinely want to learn from you, and if I help you, guess what, I'm really helping myself in the process. So, it's about an approach to other people, and the world would be a lot better place if there were a lot more there you are people.


[00:19:32] JR: Yeah, but I think it's so impressive to find that there you are person, because it's so crazy rare, right? I think, in this current cultural moment when the world defines worth largely by professional accomplishments, I think that temptation to be a here I am person when you enter the room is really, really powerful, right? Like, man, I've got to be that if I want to get the promotion, or if I want to get the speaking engagement, or whatever it is.


So, how can Christ followers who are listening make that leap? If they feel like, you know what, if I'm honest, I'm a here I am person. How do they make that leap to become a there you are person?


[00:20:11] MB: Well, it might take a Copernican Revolution that the world doesn't revolve around you. Newsflash, I think you quickly discover that when you try to knock down doors, people just reinforce keeping you out. But if you learn to knock and knock nicely – can I just share a fun story?


Let's interrupt this regularly scheduled podcast with a fun story. So, I talk a little bit in the book about personalizing your please. I tell a story about John Ruhlin wrote a book called, Giftology. So, he tells about trying to get a meeting with a target executive. And for 18 months, trying to get a meeting, nothing's work. And then, he does some research and he discovers this target executive, graduate of University of Minnesota. So, here's what he does. He commissioned a furniture company to take a 60-pound piece of cherry wood, and blazing the golden gopher logo, along with the words to the University of Minnesota fight song, I think it was.


Guess what happened? Next day, after getting the gift, that executive’s executive assistant calls and says, “Hey, can we meet?” Well, this is not rocket science, like a gift opens the way for the giver. Now, word of caution, buyer beware, if your motives aren't pure, and I really mean this, if you're trying to manipulate, it will backfire. It will blow up in your face. But if you're genuinely trying to show honor, trying to show people, “You matter, and I appreciate your unique fingerprint,” watch the doors fly open.


One of the things I'm hoping for is that as people read the book, that they find a way to put their fingerprint on these three words. I'm kind of curious, Jordan, as I share that story, can you think of an example or even from your own life of anybody that have like a really unique, please, sorry, and thanks? Is there anybody that kind of – I know I'm flipping the question, but I'm curious.


[00:22:29] JR: I love that you do this. We did this so much when we recorded the Redeem the Day podcast. I would just like – I would just be interviewing Mark, and you just keep coming back, back. “Hey, let me ask you that question. Let me just flip this on you even though you're unprepared.” But you know what? You know what I love about it? You're genuinely interested. I know that. I know this isn't  you just trying to run out the clock on our interview. You're genuinely interested in me, because you believe you got something to learn from everyone you interact with, which is the Mark of world class masters.


All right, somebody who's given me a really good personal please or thanks. You'll appreciate this as a fellow writer, I'm sure you get asked to endorse a way more books than I do. But I get asked to endorse a lot of books. I remember one in particular that really stood out. This guy created a whole custom landing page. I can't remember the guy’s name. It was like author There was a personalized video right there. It just made clear he wanted my endorsement. Not everybody's is like, “Hey, Jordan, welcome to this landing page. Below, you'll find a draft of the book. Here's why I want you to endorse it. Here are the sections I think you're going to like the book.” And I loved it. And I endorsed the book. It was a big deal.


[00:23:47] MB: Just the extra mile. One that just jogs my memory, one of the funnest and funniest invitations I've ever gotten to speak. And you know, I only do seven overnight speaking trips a year at this point, because I want to be on the home front. I pastor a church. I just don't have the bandwidth. I'll never forget this, Jeanne Mayo invited me to come speak at a conference for youth pastors, which that's a little – I was never a youth pastor. It's a little out of my comfort zone. I probably would have said no. You're going to chuckle at this.


She sent a full-size cardboard cutout of me, and our team had so much fun with that. We thought it was so funny. They probably turned it into a dartboard behind my back. But I just think like, okay, if you're going to actually go to all that trouble to make a life size cardboard cutout, I'm going to say yes to that one. So, I do think that there's something about this in business, in relationships, even in romantic relationships. It just shows thoughtfulness.


[00:25:00] JR: It shows dignity for the other person, right? It's showing, “Hey, you're not a number or an email address. You're a human being, and I care about you.” And you yourself have dignity and I'm naming that. You know what I mean? Hey, real quick, let's round out this topic on please. You talked about these three marks of a truly effective please in the book. Can you run those down real quick?


[00:25:23] MB: You're going to laugh at me. I might need help with the three. But I know one of them is precise.


[00:25:28] JR: That's okay. Precise. Man, I don't have the book up in front of me. So, I don't know. I think one was precise. I think one was timely, if I'm remembering this correctly.


[00:25:36] MB: Yes, timing is everything. You ask the right thing at the wrong time, good luck with that.


[00:25:43] JR: I think the other one was personal, which we already touched on. You remember these.


[00:25:45] MB: It was. It was personalized. So, you know the drill. You write the book, you do four edits, you record it, and then you don't remember everything. But no, you're right. So, the precise, that part of it, I think is critical, that people don't respond to generalized requests, you have to give a time and a date, you have to isolate the request. I actually reference Daniel, as an example of this as in Daniel in the lion’s den, that he didn't want to eat the king's food. He wanted to eat his Jewish diet, and a kosher diet, and it's really genius.


We read right over it. But one, he does say, please. And then two, he says, let's do it for 10 days. In other words, let's give it a timeline. And then three, here's exactly what we're going to eat. Then, this is brilliant, because please is putting the ball in someone else's court. Then he says, “Then you be the judge at the end of those 10 days.” Yes, precise, timely, personal. That's how we got to say please.


[00:26:50] JR: I love it. Hey, shifting gears a little bit. I want to offer some theological encouragement to the mere Christians listening. One of my favorite lines in the book, you said, “We need to be great at the Great Commission. But let's not forget our Genesis commission.” I'm inviting you to preach here. Explain what you mean by that, Mark?


[00:27:10] MB: Yes, it's this idea that we were never going to stay in the Garden of Eden anyways. God said, “Go and explore and discover.” Did you know, Sir Francis Bacon, who is the credited with the scientific method, by the way, he said that we are God's play fellows. That God created these things for us to discover. So, I think, whether you're an astronomer who studies the stars, or a neurologist who's fascinated by the 40-nanometer gap between synapses, or you're a chemist who's just all about the periodic table and combining different elements. All of that, to me, all truth is God's truth. Everyology is a branch of theology.


So, to me, all of these are spiritual exercises that let's not under spiritualize what it is that we do. The truth is, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. So, Dr. King said, if you're a street sweeper, I think he said, do it like Beethoven wrote music. Do it so that the angels in heaven will say, “There lived a great streetsweeper.”


Whatever it is you do, those who are listening, whatever it is you do, how can you do it in a way that's just a little above and beyond, a little extra mile, a little extra energy? And Jordan, dare I say, why not exercise the 42 facial muscles and the seventh cranial nerve and smile? Your smile is a superpower.


In fact, this will be fun. You tell me if you do the same thing. When I record an audio book, I smile and I do it intentionally. I do, because no one's going to see it, oh, but they'll hear it. There's something about like when you say it with a smile, there's this law of reciprocation that it says that I'm open minded and open hearted, and I am conveying goodwill to those who are listening. So, have you ever thought about that?


[00:29:32] JR: But I did once I read the book, and I'm going to be smiling the next time I do an audio book.


[00:29:37] MB: I love it.


[00:29:37] JR: I just got to say this. I appreciate so much. You bringing up this Great Commission, Genesis commission contrast. Because I think, listen, nobody's arguing this. Great Commission is a non-optional command for every follower of Jesus period. Full stop. But I would argue that in the last 200 years or so in church history, many strands of Christianity have functionally treated the Great Commission as the only commission to the neglect of the Genesis commission.


I think that's really problematic, because if there is no intrinsic value in those vocations that you just shared, Mark, of being an astronomer or being a barista at Ebenezer coffee shop, the only thing that matters is sharing the gospel with my coworkers, then that mere Christian isn't fully alive, because they believe that it's only 1% of the time they spend at work that they explicitly share the gospel. That's all that matters to God, right? But when you can say no, no, no, 100% of that time matters. These people, these mere Christians become fully alive and that's what attracts the lost. Amen?


[00:30:42] MB: Yes. Jordan, if that's not true, then Jesus wasted 30 years of his life. I mean, I actually never thought about that until this moment. So, I reserve the right to get smarter later. But I mean, he was a craftsman most of his – he was only in “full-time ministry” for three years. But I think we tend to discount the years he had. You know what, I don't think he would have wordsmith words called parables if he hadn't crafted furniture. I think there's something about that holistic approach, that it's an all of life, and we have way too many false dichotomies between sacred and secular.


[00:31:31] JR: Oh, man. Hey, so speaking of false dichotomies, there were a few lines in this book. I mentioned this before, where you just, you deliver the line and then you move on. I'm screaming at the book saying, “Mark, this could be an entire book.” And one of them was the short line, you said, “Truth is found in the tension of opposites.” So true. What's an example of one of those tension of opposites that you think is particularly relevant to the Christian professionals listening to this podcast?


[00:32:03] MB: Oh, man, so you know, this is Job 11:6, says, “True wisdom has two sides.” So, I think both you and I believe we’re way too binary, either or, right, wrong, black, white, whatever. I think that truth is a little bit more complex than that. So, I'll give you an example. Just theologically, I believe in the sovereignty of God and I also believe in the free will of man. So, it's almost like what happens when the unstoppable bullet hits the impenetrable wall. What happens then? Well, I would say it's past my paygrade.


But in my experience, we tend to think it's got to be A or B, and Jesus comes along and often says, it's C. And John 9 is a great example, man born blind. The disciples say, “Whose sin? His parents or him?” And they think it's got to be A or B. Jesus said, “This happened, that the glory of God might be revealed.”


The way I would say it, Jordan, is God is always writing a bigger story. God is always writing a better story, and when we fall into a very dualistic kind of thinking, it's dangerous, because then there's an in group, out group, and it almost gets into, I mean, I feel like maybe the most important part of the book was this common enemy or common humanity part that we start putting people in categories, and then we just write them off. But I think there's a very different approach that's really important. But now, I'm kind of going off on a rabbit trail.


[00:33:42] JR: No, this is good. I want you to write this book. I think a phenomenal book would be exploring some of those tensions that Christians are not meant to decimate, but to hold, to keep the tension, to wrestle with the tension. You mentioned the sovereignty of God and the freedom of man, that reminds me of a tension I think about a lot for mere Christians. This tension between trusting God, who we know produces all of the results in our work, see Deuteronomy 8, but also the God-given command to hustle and work hard as the Lord. There's a tension there that we're meant to hold. So, man, I think there could be a really great book in there.


Hey, speaking of great books, I also love your new children's book, The Best Worst Day, which you wrote with your daughter, right?


[00:34:31] MB: Yes.


[00:34:32] JR: Tell us about this book.


[00:34:34] MB: That just puts a smile on my face because –


[00:34:37] JR: I can hear it. I can hear the smile.


[00:34:39] MB: I've read bedtime storybooks when Summer was just a little girl. And by the way, I used to say to her, for all the little girls in the world were lined up and I could only choose one to be my daughter, I would choose you. I love that girl. When you have a daughter, they basically take your heart out of your chest and own it.


But then, a couple of years ago, we started writing bedtime story books. By the way, the illustrations are not mine. I cannot draw a stick figure. But we had a wonderful illustrator. You know, as a fellow author of books for kids, that the picture's worth a thousand words. So, I want to give credit where credit's due. But it's pretty simple. The Best Worst Day Ever. A bad day doesn't have to end that way. I think that's the message that kids need to hear. Even if you step on your toy triceratops at the beginning of the day. Even if your first favorite shirt is in the wash. So, you have to wear your second favorite. It's not the end of the world.


So, it's a book that, I think especially to me, Jordan, when you tuck your kids into bed, if you have kids, those are holy moments, that is sacred time. That's moments to process the day and to the process what my daughter would call, and she's a social worker, what she would call big feelings. Hopefully, it's a book that maybe gives some coping skills to kids, helps them process some of what they're feeling, and brings parents and kids closer together at the end of the day.


[00:36:12] JR: I love the book. My kids loved it. I think you know this, since you've seen the picture books that I've been working on. I'm a big fan of these picture books that can truly speak both to the parent and the kid. I think the message of this, the core of this one can do that. So, speaking of books, Mark, three questions we wrap up every podcast with. Number one, which books do you find yourself recommending or gifting most frequently to others these days?


[00:36:41] MB: Yes. That's so hard, because I love them all. And we'll say, besides your books and my book, right, Jordan?


[00:36:47] JR: Of course. Of course.


[00:36:49] MB: This is so funny, but “Never lose a holy curiosity.” Albert Einstein said that, so I loved reading in lots of different directions. So, one of the books I – and this is a little dated, but The Hidden Life of Trees is a great example.


[00:37:04] JR: Somebody just recommended this to me.


[00:37:06] MB: A tree, is a tree, is a tree, but it's really not. Trees are pretty remarkable. And that little book just gave me an appreciation for trees. I just really thoroughly enjoyed. And then you know what, I'll throw one more out there. It's a book by Arthur Brooks. What was the name of that book? He talks about crystallized knowledge and fluid knowledge and how in the first 20 years of a career, you're going to have this fluid knowledge, you're going to be innovating, but then you get towards the tail end and you've got this crystallized knowledge. And for the life of me, Arthur Brooks, I can't seem to –


[00:37:54] JR: I think, is this From Strength to Strength?


[00:37:55] MB: That's it. You got it.


[00:37:57] JR: That’s the one? I keep seeing this book pop up. That's a good one.


[00:38:00] MB: It’s another good one.


[00:38:02] JR: That’s good.


[00:38:03] MB: You know what, Bono’s bio.


[00:38:05] JR: Oh, this has been on my list for a long time.


[00:38:08] MB: If you're a wordsmith, oh, my goodness. He's just – his way with words is pretty unparalleled. Then you throw in the edge on guitar, and it's pretty good.


[00:38:20] JR: What book makes you fall in love with the words the most? Like if you're like, “Ah, man. I haven't read something exceptional, like 10 stars in a long time. I got to fall back in love with the words.” What do you read?


[00:38:30] MB: Oh, man, you know what, I would say that Bono book. I'm so glad I brought it up, because it really did that. I'm like, “Whoa, that's such interesting words.” And then, let's not take for granted the Max Lucado of the world that just can paint pictures with words. So, hats off to Max. Grateful for him. He would be a good example of that.


[00:38:57] JR: Yes. Have you read Shoe Dog?


[00:38:59] MB: No.


[00:39:00] JR: Oh, my gosh. I'm sending you a copy of Shoe Dog. That's the book I go to when I need to fall in love with words again. It's the story of Nike, the creation of Nike. I read it almost once a year. It's my favorite book of all time. Not most life changing book. But my favorite book to read is Shoe Dog. I'll send you a copy.


All right, Mark, who do you want to hear in this podcast talking about how the Christian faith should shape the work that Christians do in the world?


[00:39:27] MB: Oh, man. The artist, Makoto Fujimura.


[00:39:34] JR: We had him on like a year-ish ago. We need to have him back. I love Mako so much.


[00:39:41] MB: Okay. Yeah. I've never met him personally. But I just started reading Art and Faith, and I would like to hear more.


[00:39:51] JR: I will send you the episode with Mako talking about that book. We went deep down this rabbit hole. That's a great answer.


All right, Mark. Before we sign off, one thing from our conversation you want to reiterate to our listeners before we leave them today?


[00:40:08] MB: Yeah, I want to empower people and just say really, genuinely, if you're good at these three things, please, sorry, thanks, I have full confidence in your future. I can't promise circumstances. I can't promise promotions. But man, you are going to enjoy the journey a lot more. In fact, we didn't even really – we didn't talk about things quite as much. But to me, I mean, that itself is the game changer that if you get good at thanks, look out. Life is going to be wonderful, because you're really good at gratitude. So, that was probably my favorite part to write. But I would just reiterate, a 1% uptick in Please, Sorry, Thanks, world's going to be a better place.


[00:41:01] JR: Mark, I want to commend you for the extraordinary work you do day in and day out, for the glory of God and the good of others. Thank you for using this book to remind us of the simple brilliance in the power of our words and the God-given dignity of our work. Just on a personal level, thank you for your friendship, your encouragement of my work. I'm so grateful for you, brother.


Guys, the book is Please, Sorry, Thanks. Seriously, also check out this great kid’s book, The Best Worst Day. Mark, thank you so much for hanging out with us again.


[00:41:34] MB: Hey, Jordan, appreciate it. Grateful for your friendship, your encouragement. Keep doing what you're doing and God bless.




[00:41:44] JR: I hope you guys enjoyed that episode as much as I did. Hey, if you want more Mark and Jordan banter, check out the Redeem the Day podcast that we released about 18 months ago. It's a limited series. I think there's seven episodes in it, where we break down the commonalities between marks book, Win the Day, and my own book, Redeeming Your Time. Again, the podcast is called Redeem the Day, and you can find it wherever you listen to podcasts.


Guys, thank you so much for tuning in to the Mere Christians Podcast this week. I'll see you next time.