The Genius Plan by Earlie James

This pastor and author is phenomenal. I first heard him at his church in Philadelphia, PA. I was there in the summer of 2019 and got to hear him give a message. He then spoke to me afterward and shared what God placed on his heart. He was incredible. I knew when he was talking about this book that it was one I was going to want to read and learn from. It was a great experience.

The book was formatted like a journal so each morning and each night I would enter my reflections. Along with that, each week was centered around a specific topic or subject. The first thing I noted from this book was something that has been repeated frequently in recent memory. I know what the devil tries to do and aims to do with all of his time. The sooner we get closer to God, whatever we do to draw nearer to God, that’s when the devil wants to do everything possible to lead us in the opposite direction.

Pg. 43, The enemy’s strategy is to distort what you know about God, yourself, and your life purpose.

It’s been implanted within us and I believe that the more we seek God, the more that God will reveal to us what it is that we were created to do.

Pg. 68, Our role on earth is demonstrating the Kingdom of God in the sector of society we are designed to impact. For that reason, God has ordained good works for us to walk in. God has already written the impact we are designed to have on earth in our particular sphere of influence.

I like this. To stop being an echo. We each have unique voices, we are all unique parts of the body of Christ. If we are the hands and feet of God, what is it that we were created to do? It might look totally different for you than for me, and that’s the whole point. These three things are essential things to cultivate our unique factors, just like the author shares from the book Lead like Jesus.

Pg. 70, To stop being an echo and start being a voice, we must cultivate our God-given unique factors. In the book, Lead like Jesus, Ken Blanchard, and Phil Hodges list three things necessary to cultivating our unique factors:

1. Know Your Purpose: What “business” are you in? Where are you going, and why? What will you and your family be all about? Where is your family going, and why?
2. Know Your Vision: What will your future look like if you are accomplishing your purpose? What do you envision your future looking like?
3. Know Your Values: What will you your business, or your family stand for? On what principles will you make your ongoing decisions?

“We don’t believe what we see, we see what we believe.” To win in life, in whatever we define that, we should filter our lives with the Bible, and look through the lens that God has given us.

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Pg. 96, We must change our focus. When we change the image we focus on, we will see change in our lives. A mind focused on God will experience His perfect peace.

This was quite interesting to me, I always love learning about the root words and the original meaning of words in Greek or Hebrew. This word in particular, it’s not just evil communication that Paul emphasized but something deeper than that, companionship, intercourse, or communion. Paul says that any type of interaction or relationship with evil corrupts good manners. Not just talking with evil but simply spending time around it, that’s the way that verse hits me when I have the deeper-level understanding of what the word truly means.

Pg. 115, Environments are spiritual places that create an imprint on the mental psyche. We see this clearly in Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The word communications is translated from the Greek word homilia, which means “companionship, intercourse, or communion.”

Numbers 6 and 9 jump out at me right away. The important thing that I read from the book though, is that an effective leader is competent in ALL these areas. Not 5 of them, not 6, not 7, not 8, but 9. We need to be all in and we need to be able to lead people in all areas to be the most effective leader that we can be.

Pg. 118, There are nine competencies essential to the leadership DNA of an effective leader. These are not the only ones but they are the most significant.

1. Adaptability
2. Contributing to Team Success
3. Communication
4. Decision-Making
5. Competency Mastery
6. Building Trust
7. Continuous Learning
8. Work Ethic
9. Initiating Action

God cares about our souls, not the paychecks, not the worldly recognition, none of that. It matters who we become and what our souls encompass. It’s most important that we fulfill our task. Jesus, while dying on the cross, exclaimed, “It is finished,” and gave up his spirit. Are we going to ever be in a position to do the same? I strive to. I want to know God intimately enough to know and truly understand what He created me for, I want to finish this life, arrive in heaven and be greeted by God saying, “Well done good and faithful servant.” That’s the mission.

Pg. 124, You are not paid for starting a job but for finishing it. That proves true whether you work in a corporate environment or in the Kingdom. True leadership means you deliver what you promised. This is why one of the truest measurements for leadership maturity is who you are when your leaders are not around. God is not as interested in your success as He is in your development of character. Your personal mastery will truly set you up for interpersonal mastery. As a wise man once said, “High performers make choices, not excuses.”

I love this. Change or chains, which is it? There are PLENTY of stories of people overcoming incredible and unimaginable adversity. 20 years in jail for a crime that they didn’t commit and come out stronger, smarter, and better. Change. Oppressed for life, never recognized, and always acting on beliefs and continuing to be encouraged. Change.

Fired from a job, spirals into unemployment for years.
Spouse is unfaithful and that leads to divorce, they lose their will to live.
Gain weight and weight and more weight. Continue eating and don’t workout.
Chains. Free yourself from your chains. It begins with us and God can ALWAYS do the unimaginable. He is DIVINE.

Pg. 162, Again, you either have change or chains.

I want you to consider that one major purpose for change is to keep things from becoming mundane. Change not only promotes new life, but it also encourages diversity. Change encourages new perspectives to emerge onto the spectrum of life. Those who thought they would never have a day, but inherited one, can thank change. Without change, new things cannot come forth.

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I’ve done this, I’ve been there. And the difficult thing to accept is that when you have hesitancies about someone or their character, there is often merit and you should trust your intuition. Trust but verify, because usually if you are not certain of a person’s intentions, they aren’t good.

Pg. 216, I recalled over and over again things that were said to me that causes me to trust and began to look for those signs in future relationships as a means for detecting them and protecting myself emotionally. When any person attempted to build friendships, I would only allow myself to go so far before shutting off.

God will forgive us to the measure that we forgive others. I love what the author said in the middle of this, “We don’t go into what we don’t sow into.” We MUST put in the work. Period. End of discussion, that’s it. How can we ever expect someone to tell us the truth if we all do is lie to them??? That’s entirely absurd.

Pg. 236, The measure we use in our actions will be used toward us as well. If we are ever tempted to serve someone halfway without giving our all, we must remember that what we make happen will happen. If we give our best to help others be successful, God will raise up others to give their best to help us with our dreams. We don’t go into what we don’t sow into, and we are not worthy to receive what we are not willing to release. What we expect from others is what others expect of us.

We ALWAYS have something to offer. Even when we don’t think that we have anything of value, we still do. There is always someone that we can help.

“Giving is an action, generosity is a matter of heart.” — Chip Ingram

Pg. 237, They say, “I will give when I get more income.” “I will give someone a ride when I get a new car, but not in my current one.” “I will volunteer my time at the ministry or to a charity when I get more time, but not right now.” “When I get my business, then I will support the ministry.” We have all heard these sorts of statements that always defer to the future instead of taking action in the present. The truth is, life is choice-driven, and we choose what we experience in life by the decisions we make.

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Loved this part. We are in charge of what God has given us. “If you can be trusted with little you can be trusted with much.” I keep reminding myself that the very first thing, the very first thing that we were trusted with was ourselves. If we cannot use what we were given within us… what should we be trusted to use?? Nothing right? Makes sense to me. We control the outcome of our destiny, it’s time we act in the ways that God has intended.

Pg. 238, If you don’t have the answers to these questions, (various questions about what we are going to do with what God has given us and what we are already doing) you are in violation of the boomerang principle. What you disrespect moves away from you, and what you respect will always gravitate toward you. No one controls the outcome of your destiny but you. From this point forward, stop blaming others for failed events in your life, and stop complaining about what you have permitted. The truth is this. Regardless of what you have been through, God’s deposit in you in is not damaged. You are still a work of genius!

In the margins I wrote, “become it.” We are going to change over time and as we grow, we are going to become greater (hopefully). As we reach our visions, we are going to be, or at least should be, different and better people.

Pg. 255, In order to obtain what your vision states you can have, you must realize the person who inherits the vision is not the same one who accomplishes it.

If you want to learn about vision in the Bible, read Nehemiah. Read Charles Swindoll’s book Hand Me Another Brick about Nehemiah. We need vision, and as Charles writes in that book about Nehemiah, God rewards a good vision.

Pg. 257, The Bible outlines how a lack of vision can cause the greatest of dreams to fail. And just like a lack of vision can cause a dream to fail, so also will a lack of knowledge produce failure. This is why we state that you must agree with the vision of freedom to experience it. Everyone wants freedom but sometimes we fail to experience it due to a lack of commitment to the vision and lacking the wisdom to apply the knowledge required. We must be intentional with having meditation time to reflect on our vision daily and applying the knowledge necessary to experience change. Again, it must be a daily focus on our task list. If we are willing to do the work, we are ready to inherit freedom. Remember, practice makes permanent.

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This book was different, it was not a typical read from start to finish, it was a 13-week process that led me from start to finish and it was wonderful. I learned a lot, not only about myself but also about God’s intention for my life and the lives of everyone. I’m realizing more and more every day that God has a unique purpose for each and every one of us and it is imperative that we pursue our purposes always.

I gave this book a 3.5/5

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