Warren Bennis states:“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” But what does it take to bridge that gap; the gap between the ideal and the real? I believe it requires leaders to memorize and repeat often two vital words: I INSIST!

It’s a principle I call THE LAW OF INSISTENCE. The Law of Insistence says:

“A Leader Must Insist On What He Wants To Exist.”

Whatever it is that you want to bring into existence, will only be brought  into existence at the leader’s insistence. As a result, there are three times when every leader must use insistence as a tool of his or her leadership.

1. Leaders Must Insist When They Want Something To Exist!

Jesus, the greatest leader and spiritual teacher who ever lived, was destined to fulfill His vision. What was his vision? Matthew 16:21-23 tells us:

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” – Matthew 16:21 (NKJV)

Jesus’ purpose was to die for the sins of all people and then to resurrect from the dead to reign as the one true God.  Jesus insisted on this vision! How do we know? Because Matthew tells us, “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must…”. That word ‘must’ is a word of insistence. I MUST do this! I HAVE to do this! THIS MATTERS!

As a leader of people, if you want a certain something to exist, then you’re going to have to insist on it, strengthen your resolve, and make it happen.

2. Leaders Must Insist Even When Followers Resist!

Notice what happens after Jesus declares His purpose and vision.

“Then Peter took Him (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You’!” – Matthew 16:22 (NKJV)

Peter meant well. But Peter was wrong. He had good intentions but he didn’t know he was resisting the plan of God. Jesus loved Peter. Jesus knew Peter meant well. But Jesus also knew that He Himself “must” fulfill His God-given vision. So, what does Jesus do? He insists! Watch Jesus’ passion…

“But He (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” – Matthew 16:23 (NKJV)

Whoa! Strong words, wouldn’t you say? But Jesus wasn’t angry at Peter, He was passionate about His purpose and vision. Jesus insisted like the leader He is; with compassion for Peter’s misunderstanding and passion for God’s plan for His life.  Sometimes, as a leader, you’ve just got to insist on it!

I’m not talking about being rude or acting like a bully, but about the fine art of insisting kindly but firmly.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” — Jim Rohn

3. Leaders Must Insist Until People Assist

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)

You may have to stand by yourself for a while, at least until someone decides to roll up their sleeves and start helping you accomplish your vision. Great leaders are always willing to stand alone if that’s what it takes!

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone.” – General Douglas MacArthur

To sum it up: As a leader you’ve got to insist, even when people resist, and persist so your vision will exist:) It’s just that simple. Are you willing?



What do we mean when we talk about ‘personal growth’? You hear those words all the time: Personal Growth. Each of us has heard how we need to grow, to improve, to become better than we are; indeed, become more than we are right now. But where do we begin? And for that matter, what are all of the motivational speakers, authors and gurus talking about when they tell us we need to keep growing? I’ll break it down for you (with help from Blaine Lee).


1. SKILLS – What You Can Do In the Present

“When you encounter a new situation, you’ve got a certain skill set…the skills you have enable you to do the job. Your skills are the things you can do right now in the present.” – Dr. Blaine Lee

We’re referring to things like LEADERSHIP SKILLS, the ability to energize and mobilize a group of people around a common vision, goal or purpose. TECHNICAL SKILLS refer to the ability to perform and complete a specific task; and PEOPLE SKILLS include the ability to connect with and relate to others in pleasing ways. Personal growth usually means becoming proficient in performing a function or task.

2. CAPACITY – What You Can Do In The Future 

“In addition to the skills you have, you have a capacity to develop and acquire new talents and gifts. Your capacity has to do with the skills you will have in the future.” – Blaine Lee

What’s your potential? How far can you go? How high can you soar? Your potential refers to your capacity. Personal growth means expanding our capacity to learn and acquire new talents and abilities. Stretching, like a rubber band, to reach new goals increases capacity.

3. HISTORY – What You Have Done In The Past

“You have a history. Your history is a record of where you have been and what you have done. You have dealt with people in certain ways, ways that have resulted in various outcomes with them in the past.” – Dr. Blaine Lee

Much personal growth focuses on helping us move forward in our emotional and relational lives. We’re encouraged to move beyond the pain from our past. Personal growth usually means addressing issues such as regret, guilt, shame, and bitterness, and dealing with them in the present. Thankfully, most “growth” experts will tell us that our history does not have to determine our destiny! We CAN get past our past!

4. CHARACTER – What You Are 

“In addition to our history, we also have character. Character is what you are. You have an internal set of beliefs, motivations, desires and principles that are manifested by your behavior. Together they comprise your character.” – Dr. Blaine Lee

Your character is a combination of your heart, your habits, and your hang-ups. If you want to see what you’re really made of…look at your character. Pay attention to things like your inner desires, your true motives, your hidden prejudices, and your assumptions.

Carl Rogers has stated, “That which is most personal is most general.” These four areas, The Core Four Of Personal Growth, are general. They are general because they are universal; meaning they apply to every human being. Every person has skills of some kind. Every person has potential. Every person has a past. And every person has character…or should I say…IS a character:)  It is for that reason that they are also personal.

‘Personal growth’ usually refers to one of these four areas in our lives.



Dr. Blaine Lee states “honorable people incorporate ten basic principles (into their life)…persuasion, patience, gentleness, teachability, acceptance, kindness, knowledge, discipline, consistency and integrity.” 

Honorable people honor people! If you have honor, you’ll give honor…especially to your father on Father’s Day. But you say, “You don’t/didn’t know my father! He isn’t/wasn’t an honorable man.” I would reply that honorable people honor people regardless of whether the person they’re honoring is worthy. Honorable people honor even those who they feel don’t deserve it. Why? Because honoring others is right. Because God commands us to do it. And because parents are just people. too!

How do you honor someone like your father? And what if he wasn’t a ‘good dad’? Or, what if he was a great dad and you just want to know how to show him your love.  Would you believe that either way, the process is the same?

  1. USE PERSUASION – Don’t coerce. Respect your father’s right to make his own choices.
  2. SHOW PATIENCE – Be long-suffering toward your father’s habits, hang-ups and hurts.
  3. EXPRESS KINDNESS – Avoid sarcasm or making rude remarks to things your dad might say.
  4. EXUDE GENTLENESS – Don’t compete or intimidate your father. Humble yourself.
  5. LOVE CONSISTENTLY – Value your father and love him when you don’t feel like it.
  6. GIVE ACCEPTANCE – Stop trying to change or improve your father. Just experience him.
  7. BE TEACHABLE – Ask his advice on a situation you need help with and really listen.
  8. SHARE KNOWLEDGE – Invite him into your family by sharing what’s going on in your life.
  9. BE DISCIPLINED – Don’t retaliate no matter what your father says or does that annoys you.
  10. HAVE INTEGRITY – Be honest with yourself and your father in all you say and do.

“Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:2-3 (KJV)





I can still see the smile across dad’s face. “Boy, you hit that thing a country mile.” It was the one and only baseball season I ever played. I was 8 years old and I had just smacked the leather baseball to left field. Boy was dad proud! I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live. Basking in dad’s approval was like basking in the life-giving rays of the Sun. At that moment with my dad’s eyes gleaming I felt like I had conquered the world.  In that moment Dad and I had…wait for it…bonded!

Allow me to share with you two basics of bonding with the hope that it will help you be the best dad you can.

1. Bonding with your children means being with your children.

As a father of three I am learning that children spell love T.I.M.E. More than money my kids want my time. More than toys my kids want my time. More than anything my kids just want “ME”. They want me to be around, to be interested in what they are thinking, saying or playing.

Your kids are no different. No matter how old your children are they still want your time. Relationships take time to build. You can’t build a relationship without spending time on it. You can’t bond with a child without spending time with them. Bonding with our kids requires us to be with our kids. That may sound obvious but how many overworked and overcommitted men do you know that can’t seem to find time to spend with their children? And yet not one of those overworked, overstressed, and overcommitted dads would say on his deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

2. Bonding with your children means building up your children.

Dad, building them up means complimenting them. It means catching them doing something right instead of always mentioning when they do something wrong. It means intentionally taking your son or daughter aside and telling them why they are so special to you.

Dr. Phil suggests asking your son or daughter this question, “Honey, what did I do right to deserve such a good little girl as you?” “Son, what did dad do to deserve such a good boy as you?” Even if they are young they will feel your heart as you say it. And if they are older then they will be amazed and encouraged by the sincerity of your heart.

General Douglas MacArthur, one of the greatest military leaders of all time, once said in a speech he gave:

“By profession, I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact. But I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build. A father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death, the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle, but in the home.”



Leading Change is like building a three-legged stool. There are three legs or sides to implementing any change; and if one of them is not properly added to the structure then the stool (organization) won’t support the weight of the change.

As the ‘point person’ charged with initiating changes in your organization or company, it’s helpful to know and work with each of these three sides of change.
1. THE TECHNICAL SIDE = Systems + Their Skills

First, there’s the technical side. My mom teaches 2nd grade in the public school system in North Carolina. Recently, the state of North Carolina issued each teacher in her school an ipad to be used in the classroom while testing their students. There was obviously a technical aspect to integrating this new technology into the normal operations of the teacher’s classroom. The technical side of this change was actually getting the ipads into each teacher’s hand as well as showing the teachers how to operate this Apple tablet.

What changes are you trying to make where you work? In your family? In your neighborhood? Your community? What are the technical aspects of the change?

Currently I am in the process of introducing a brand new system of organization and administration that supports the volunteers at NorthLife Church where I serve as Lead Pastor. Partnering with Pastor Steve Gortz of JMI Ministries, we are beginning to implement changes that, like my mother’s school, integrate technology into the system of accomplishing ministry tasks and measuring ministry results. The technical side includes addressing issues of systems, software and skills. It’s about getting new and effective tools into the hands of your people so that they can successfully navigate the changes. Have you evaluated this technical side lately?

2. THE INSPIRATIONAL SIDE = Stories + The Thrill

One of the exercises I am going through with my staff is to conduct feedback sessions where I ask them to share with me obstacles or potential roadblocks they see that might hinder the smooth transition from one system to another.

God has blessed me with wonderful people to work with and serve. They have contributed dynamic thoughts that are making initiating changes not only successful but fun! One of my mottos is: HAVE FUN GETTING GOD’S WILL DONE!

As wonderful as my staff is, and as long as I’ve been leading people, we both tend to get tired and weary. I find that we need continual inspiration to keep us going and to finish the project. How do we get this inspiration? STORIES. Great leaders tell stories.

  • Stories of skeptic staff members turned into believers in the new system.
  • Stories of how people are personally growing in their abilities as they are overcoming the challenges implementing new changes bring.
  • Stories of how the new system has made it possible for there to be better communication between all of us.

You get the picture! Share the victories and the stories of triumph with your people. They need to hear it.  So do you!

3. THE SPIRITUAL SIDE = Submission + Their Will

You’re not a robot. Neither are your people. So, there’s a spiritual side to this endeavor. The spiritual side is really about ATTITUDE: not ‘Can they?’ but ‘Will they?’ support you as their leader and the changes you’re seeking to implement.

In a church, this is an issue of spiritual submission to God’s will in the life of the people. It’s the same in business, but so as not to freak out “non-religious” readers I’ll keep calling it ATTITUDE. This is not really something you can control as a leader or manager. As a pastor I pray for God to ‘touch’ the hearts of His people. What can you do at your business?

Why not try the same thing? Pray. Ask God to supernaturally ‘touch’ the hearts of the people you serve and work with. Ask God to give you favor with them. And while you’re praying, ask for their opinions. Ask them how they’re feeling about the changes. Ask them what they see as barriers to progress. By asking them theses questions, you are honoring them as their leader. As a leader, don’t be prideful, but remember the words of one of greatest novelists America ever produced:

“I never met a man I couldn’t learn from.” – Mark Twain



I once heard John Ortberg speak at a conference in California where he opened up his talk by asking the audience this question: “When did God ever come to a person in The Bible and call them to do something that was easy?”

When we think about serving God, it’s our tendency to entertain visions of grandeur about our own destinies.  Joseph (the coat of many colors guy) had a dream. In his dream he saw himself as “the star” and everyone else bowing down to him. What’s interesting is that when Joseph dreamed about his destiny with God he never envisioned how hard it would be, nor how long it would take to achieve it.

It took 13 years, multiple mistreatment and abuses along the way, before God finally brought to pass the vision He had given to Joseph about his life’s work. We come to God and we think, “I’m going to give my life to God; serve Him with all I’ve got, and then I’ll see supernatural, overnight success.” People will love me, listen to me, follow me, give their lives to Jesus and on and on. But then reality hits! It’s harder than it looks.

REALITY CHECK: When did God call a person in the Bible to do something easy?

Noah? Abraham? Jacob? Joseph? Moses? Joshua? The Judges: Gideon, Sampson, Debra, etc? The Prophets: Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc., King David, Solomon, Jonathan (Saul’s son)? Joseph and Mary? The Disciples? Paul the Apostle? Jesus? I can’t think of a single instance in scripture, where God commanded someone to do something easy. God never called them to do what was easy, He called them to do what was necessary.


“For even the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45 (NLT)

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share.  Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them?” – M. Scott Peck, M.D. The Road Less Traveled

The service we render to God is necessary to solve the problems we face every day of our lives. For example…

  • Serving God helps solve the problem of people going to hell.
  • Serving God helps solve the problem of world hunger.
  • Serving God helps solves the problem of poverty.
  • Serving God helps solve the problem of racism.
  • Serving God helps solve the problem of illiteracy/Ignorance.
  • Serving God helps solve the problem of meaninglessness.
  • Serving God helps solve the problem of hatred, violence and war.
  • Serving God helps solve the problem of global warming and climate change.

Serving God is hard not because God is hard to please but because life is hard. God is not too hard on us. Nor is He too hard to please. Life is hard. Period.


“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn