Coach Jim Harbaugh teaching Jameis Winston a Biblical principle

Jameis Winston will probably be the #1 pick in next week’s NFL Draft. The biggest knock on him is his off-the-field behavior.

For example, Winston was issued a citation for shoplifting crab legs and crawfish about a year ago. What’s fascinating to me is how hesitant Jameis is to own any guilt. The truth is I’m just as hesitant. We all are.

In an episode of ESPN’s Draft Academy released this week, Winston met with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. As Jameis explains the shoplifting incident, Coach Harbaugh tells Jameis to just own it by admitting that he messed up. However, Jameis immediately responds, “But how am I supposed to handle it if someone gave them to me for free?” Jameis doesn’t want to own any part of the guilt. After all, there’s someone else to blame. Watch the 2-minute video below.

Heads-up: The language is censored but typical of “locker-room talk”.

The most captivating part of the interview is when Coach Harbaugh looks at him with a wrinkled brow and repeats to Jameis that he just needs to own it and admit that what he did was wrong. It seemed to frustrate Jim Harbaugh that Jameis didn’t get how obvious the solution is.

Own it

But it’s more complicated in Jameis’ mind. You see, someone at the store apparently offered to give him free food even though they may not have been authorized to do so. Therefore, Jameis fails to see his part in the incident because in his mind someone else is mostly responsible.

You will never confess your sins if you blame everything on someone else.

This isn’t unique to famous athletes. I know exactly how Jameis’ feels. It’s hard for me to own my part of my problems.

I instinctively argue, “It wasn’t my fault. It was their fault. They are to blame. They were wrong. All my friends agree with me.”

It’s easy to overlook the wrong we’ve done since our part feels minor compared to what they did. We’ll never confess our sins as long as we’re blaming everything on someone else.

“To make peace with your past, you need to own your piece of the past.” –Andy Stanley

Child abuse or unprovoked crimes are exceptions when the victim has no responsibility. But in most cases there is something we should own.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. -1 John 1:8-10

Here are a few examples:

  • He clearly mistreated you, but as you pause and look back, maybe people had advised you to beware of him.
  • She consistently demeaned and hurt you, looking back, maybe you kept answering her texts and letting her back into your life.
  • She seduced you, but as you pause and look back, maybe you stayed too long.
  • He stole from you, but in retrospect, maybe you rushed past all of the warning signs.

Your offender is wrong for what he or she did. Owning your part doesn’t make your offender any less guilty, but it will free your future.

Owning your part will take humility and courage. Ask a trusted friend if they see any part of your past that you have yet to own. Resist being defensive. Then humbly thank them for loving you enough to share hard truths.

It’s time to OWN IT. You may not be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft but you can experience something even better: a peaceful heart.

Pick up your copy of STUCK When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How by clicking below:


Church Change by Andy Stanley

Change requires 3 things

1. Craft a laser-focused vision statement

andy stanleyThe worst place to begin a conversation about change is talking about what you want to change.

The best place to begin a conversation about change is talking about where you want to go.

2. Cast it over and over and over

Memorable is portable.

3. Organize to your vision statement

Organizations work toward status quo. Organize your hiring, budgeting, and systematizing toward the vision.

Most little boys finally start wearing deodorant because they like a girl.

They don’t want to give something up. They want something better.

When people see something better they don’t feel like they’re giving something up.

3 things we should change in the local church:

1. The church must be the safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.

2. The church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders while insiders act like outsiders.

As Christians we do a horrible job policing ourselves but we’re quick to police everyone else.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13

How to change our nation in one year:

For the next 12 months every Christian should stop looking at porn, smoking weed, having premarital sex, committing adultery, pay our taxes, and help one family in every church foster one child and our country would be immediately different.

3. The church must capture and keep the hearts and minds of students.

Stop this endless cycle of students graduating from high school and the church at the same time.

If your church is designed by 50-year olds for 50-year olds at the neglect of 15-year olds, shame on you.

This should bother you all the way to your budget.

What is this generation of students worth?

Let’s not lead anymore people to Jesus at age 6 and then convince them at age 16 the church has nothing for them.

What if we were the church that decided 16-year-olds would love their church even more than when they were 6?

We must decide we aren’t creating churches for 50-year-olds anymore. It’s 15 or bust!

Creating a Culture of Innovation by Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel – Catalyst West


The Church should lead the culture in innovation.


Limited resources + willingness to fail + increasing passion = exponential innovation (Mark 2)

Limited resources

We often think “We can’t because we don’t.”

We should think, “We can because we don’t.

God guides by what He provides; however, sometimes He guides by what He withholds.

Willingness to fail

Too many church leaders think failure is missing God but failure is often the first step toward success.

We think, “Failure is not an option”. The fear of failure drives us to stop taking risks and to live without faith.

Failure is an event not a person. God uses failure to shape you. If you are not failing now and then, you are playing it way too safe.

I would rather please God by thinking too big than insult him by thinking too small.

Increasing passion

We think, “We want to reach people for Christ.”

We should think, “We have to reach people for Christ.”

You’re not going to lead people to Jesus unless you sometimes smell like smoke.

What Breaks Your Heart? by Andy Stanley

Catalyst – West Session #1 by Andy Stanley

Nehemiah simply responded to what broke his heart. (Nehemiah 1:1-11)

What breaks your heart?

andy stanleyWhat causes you to pause mentally when everyone else moves on in the conversation? If you could just do something about one thing, what would that one thing be? Bring it front and center and let it bother you.

God uses broken-hearted leaders. When you chase back all major changes that happen in the Kingdom, you’ll always find a broken-hearted leader.

Truths about leaders:

  • There’s a direct correlation between leadership and change.
  • Leaders make things better.
  • Leaders love progress.
  • Progress requires change.
  • Leaders like to fix things that are broken.
  • Leaders are perpetually dissatisfied with status quo.
  • Leaders don’t blame.
  • Blame is an effective change-avoidance strategy.
  • Leaders don’t change for the sake of cool.

Nehemiah’s broken heart was by Divine design. We are all part of a Divine design.

You have no idea what hangs in the balance of your decision to embrace the burden God has placed in your heart.

Ask yourself: “Many years from now, what would I like people to line up to thank me for?”

The Church will go on forever until Jesus comes. Apart from our calling, we have no purpose.

My Best Friend’s Funeral

Tomorrow & Friday I’ll be live-blogging from Catalyst sharing all the gold nuggets from Andy Stanley, Judah Smith, Craig Groeschel, and others.

Today, I share an interview I did with my friend and author Roger Thompson.

Last week Roger and I met at Social Tap – Ventura and discussed his new book which I absolutely love! Roger’s a great story-teller who inspires the reader to pause and self-examine his own heart.

3dCoverBookSo, as we hammered through a basket of fries, I asked Roger, “So, how would you describe My Best Friend’s Funeral in one sentence?”

Roger: It’s a ‘coming of age’ story with the high & lows of life that are both jacked up and beautiful.

Me: I always love to hear the “backstory” of a book. Why did you write this book?

Roger: As I looked back at my life, I was like a rocket ship taking off in my 20’s and 30’s. My business and life were going great. Right after Tim died, life sort of stopped but not just because of Tim’s death. It was a combination of things that included losing my best friend, my business closing, and suddenly I felt like I was failing. I was stuck. I felt like I lost my mojo.

So, even though I’d never written before, I started writing about my life.

Me: I bet that was therapeutic!

Roger: Yea. It was a cathartic exercise. I wanted to remember the big story and remember when I was most myself to give me confidence and get back to who I really was.

In my writing, I was searching for myself and because of the writing I actually became myself. It turns out; I was a writer and didn’t know it!

Everything about life was suddenly better. I discovered I was an artist trapped in a business suit.

Me: Wow! That’s must’ve been a remarkable experience. So, as you wrote the book, what’s your favorite part of the book?

Roger: My favorite part to write was the fishing stories. The fishing stories are the backdrop of fatherhood, which is ultimately God and the water signifies the Holy Spirit. So there are many different layers in the fishing stories.

Me: That’s awesome. But, I gotta be honest. I totally missed that symbolism when I read your book.

Roger: Yea lots of people tell me they are really drawn into the story but don’t know why it touches them so much. I tell them it’s because the story represents how much Jesus loves them and we all like that.

Me: One of the things I love about MBFF is how honest you are with your own doubts with faith, frustrations with God, etc. Has your candor created any pushback from people in the Christian community?

Roger: A little. In one scene at the lake I write about my prayer when I finally surrendered to Christ. I was hurting before I prayed. However, after my prayer I felt exactly like I did before, maybe even worse. Some people felt uncomfortable with me sharing that.

I have found in my relationship with God that my growth is slow, unpredictable and surprising.

Me: Yea, me too. So, there are great themes throughout the book (Father wound, questions about faith, grieving, 1st year of marriage and parenting, etc.). Is there one theme that people seem to be responding to the most?

Roger: Men seem to connect with two themes (one that I expected and one I didn’t). Many guys connect with the father wound – especially those who are currently fathering. The thing I didn’t expect was to hear how many guys have told me they don’t have a close friendship and don’t know how to find one. They want what Tim and I had.

Women seem to relate more with the close relationship Tim and I had.

Me: What do you hope the reader takes away from your book?

Roger: I hope there’s some self-examination. I cover so much ground for the person in different stages of life that I think people can easily connect with the story.

Me: This is your first writing experience. What have you enjoyed most?

Roger: I love the struggle of writing. I hate the 1st hour but love the time after that.

Me: What’s your writing process?

Roger: I have a few different writing approaches:

  • Most days I have a daily word count goal of anywhere from 500 – 2,000 words a day. These don’t have to be great words either just creating content that can be edited later.
  • Deeper, emotional stuff I approach differently. This is when I get away and really pour myself into the writing emotionally.
  • Forming the story of words. This writing approach is more about shaping than creating. Putting chapters and transitions together.

Me: So how do you start your writing when you’re staring at the blank screen?

Roger: Hemmingway said, “Write one true thing.”

So my approach was to write down one truth about “grief, or catching a wave, or the real feeling of the first kiss, or the true feeling of getting a call that your best friend just died.” Sometimes that truth was a word. Sometimes it was a paragraph.

After I have that one true thing then I write the story around it. I like to write to people’s heart.

Me: I’ve never heard that before. That’s gold. So where did you do most of your writing?

Roger: Inside my VW Westfalia Van at the beach, my writing office at home, and various coffee shops. I actually became superstitious about writing pretty quickly in the process. I have a lucky writing shirt that I like to wear.

Me: What? You have a lucky writing shirt?

Roger: Yea. It’s not that great looking or comfortable but it seems to work for me.

Me: Man I need to get one of those! Did you ever get away for extended time to write?

Roger: Sometimes I got away for a couple of days for the emotionally tough stuff so my kids didn’t see me as an emotional wreck.

Me: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

Roger: First thing in the morning. Usually, I try to be done by 10 or 11am since I’m not a full-time writer.

Me: Now that have experienced the book writing process from beginning to end, are you going to write another one?

Roger: Yes. Several.


Me: Congratulations man. You’ve written a great book!

Roger W. Thompson advocates for orphans in Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project, and produces surf movies with Walking on Water Films. When not working, Roger can be found fly-fishing, building furniture, and surfing with his sons near the coastal town of Ventura, California, where he lives with his wife, two young sons, one old dog, and seven productive chickens.

Pick up your copy of My Best Friend’s Funeral here or at your local bookstore. Follow Roger on twitter or facebook. Watch this trailer for the book. For more information, check out Roger’s website.

Can you forgive dead people?

A gentile, retired man approached me at church last weekend and said, “Mark, I’ve been reading your book.” Then he bluntly asked, “Can you forgive dead people?”

My heart hurt as he told me about the injuries he still carries from the years of abuse inflicted by his step-dad that began when he was a six-year-old boy. After all these years, he’s now wondering if forgiveness is even possible.

Family Stones

Sadly, our hurts often outlive our offenders.

Can you relate? Is there someone who has died that you’ve never forgiven? Has your opportunity to forgive been lost forever? Do you feel stuck with the hurt they caused you?

Here are two important things to keep in mind when you need to forgive someone who is deceased:

1) In order for your heart to heal, you must forgive.

You’ve heard the phrase “time heals all wounds”. That is a myth. Time provides perspective but time alone does not heal. Forgiveness, not time, heals.

2) Your offender plays no part in your forgiveness.

Your offender is responsible for your hurt but they have no voice in your forgiveness. It takes two people to reconcile but only one person to forgive.

So, the question is, how can you forgive someone who is deceased? You forgive a deceased person the exact same way you forgive someone who is alive. How do you do that? Did I mention that I wrote a book? Well, it includes specific behaviors to help you fully forgive.

It might encourage you to read my friend Kim Mayner’s personal story forgiving her deceased Dad. It’s amazing! You can read it HERE.