Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jesus Take the Wheel by Stuart Migdon (with giveaway)

Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God by Stuart Migdon is a devotional that aims to help people put Jesus in the driver's seat of their lives. Over a period of two months, Migdon hopes readers will learn how to live their lives the way God intended. I thought I'd give this book a try because it really hit home. I'll admit that I'm someone who likes to be in control, but I've learned over the years that sometimes I just have to let go.

I'm still working my way through the book. I didn't want to just skim it and post an overview. I wanted to really see if the book could help me change my life. I wasn't expecting any earth-shattering changes, just little differences in the way I think and act that might add up over the course of time. So far, Jesus Take the Wheel hasn't disappointed.

Each daily lesson is a few pages long, and many of them take a closer look at the lives of Jesus and Moses as models of the way we should live our lives. Other people from the Bible, including David and Paul, are mentioned as well. Each of the "7 Keys to a Transformed Life With God" are covered over a one-week period. There is an action step at the end of every day, and the reading for the last day of every week consists of summary points for readers to remember during their journeys.

The 7 keys touch upon such things as wisdom, listening to God (our Navigation System), trust, and joy. And while the book obviously is geared toward Christians, I think some of the messages within its pages could be used by people of any faith. For instance, Day 20's Action Step says, "Think about the people God has placed into your life who may need help in a small or big way. Ask God to show you how you can help by being there for one or more of them and then carry out that plan. It may turn into one of life's special moments!" (page 100) One doesn't have to be a Christian to understand how worthwhile it is to help others in need!

On Migdon's website, you can download the free journal that accompanies Jesus Take the Wheel. I've been using the journal as a way to really think about what I'm reading. It would be way too easy to quickly read through the daily lesson without really digesting it, and since I'm a writer, I figured the journal would make the experience richer. So far, so good.

It's too early to say whether Jesus Take the Wheel will transform the way I live my life, but it's given me things to think about and helped me realize some things I need to change. Any book that gets me to ponder ways to grow in my faith is worth a try.


Below is an article written by Stuart Migdon from his website. His publicist, Jennifer Orgelfinger, gave me permission to post it here.


The key to being used by God for His glory is that we give over control and realize all glory and honor goes to God alone. True Humility. The great love of God allows us to see the changes that need to be made in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even the greatest can be humbled.

It's never too late to change as long as He is the one changing us. Most people won't admit that being important matters to them. But if we seek recognition in one way or another, we have revealed through our actions that we desire to be self-important. Here's a five-point test to see just how significant self-importance is to you.

Five Evidences of Desiring Self-Importance

Whenever you do something with the goal of recognition, it's really about your own importance. Let's say you help someone out, and you're looking for acknowledgment of what you've done. Maybe you helped them with general advice, helped them get a job, watched their children, lent them money, bought them a gift, or did some other favor for them. You could even be doing what God instructs all of us to do, comforting the sick, visiting the prisoner, feeding and clothing the poor, or being there for the needy. If you're doing it with the desire to be noticed, even if that's just part of your reason, then you have too much focus on your own importance.

How many times have we heard people talk about a time when they did something for someone else, and the person they did it for wasn't appreciative, didn't say thank you enough, or in some other way didn't show enough gratitude? Doesn't that show that they were doing it for the recognition and not to help someone else? It's hard not to want recognition--we feel like we deserve it. That's the sin nature with which we constantly struggle.

The fight is only won with God at the wheel. In order to do so, you need to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and relinquish control of your life to Him. When you give to others without looking to feed your own ego but only to see good being done for someone else, your reward is from God, and it far surpasses any reward of recognition you can get from man. Keep in mind that recognition can be good if it comes naturally, but if you do things with the intention or motive of being recognized, you're making yourself too important!

Whenever a good deed is not done because it brings no attention to you, then it is really about your own importance. How about when you assess a certain situation and you decide not to help if you don't get recognition. Perhaps you decide not to give to a good cause because your gift would be anonymous. Or you decide not to help someone unless there are enough people around to see--an audience, so to speak. Some people are notorious for showing up to help at a charitable event only for the recognition, the photo op so to speak. Once the cameras are packed away, they leave. We do the same thing when we choose not to do good deeds when there is no acknowledgement in doing so. If that's your thinking process, it is obvious that recognition is your motivation, and you've put too much significance on your own importance. The recognition may come, but it is your only reward. God will have no part in it.

When you are looking for opportunities to tell people about your accomplishments, it's really all about your own importance. Have you ever been in a situation where you've heard someone telling others about their own accomplishments, their job titles, degrees, money, house, or material possessions, when there's really no need for others to know? Or maybe you've been around someone looking for opportunities to fit these kinds of things into the conversation? It's out of context, and it's a clear sign that they're doing it for recognition, putting too much significance on their own importance.

When you worry about what others think of you, you are too focused on your own importance. If you are constantly worried about what other people think of you and you make decisions based on this concern, you are placing too much significance on your own importance. It could be deciding to go someplace or to be with some people because you think others will look more favorably on you. Or perhaps you stay away from someplace or some people because others would think less of you if you didn't. Self-importance matters to you if you are concerned about the actions you take or the things you say based on what other people might think.

When you admire others based on their possessions or status, then your focus is on your own importance. If it's all about their power or prestige, then you're impressed by the wrong elements--these things do not make a person truly important. If you are impacted by the importance of others, then importance matters way too much to you.

In summary, whenever you attempt to accomplish something with a reason other than for the love of God and the love of others, it is done to demonstrate your own importance, and it gets in the way of God's love. Rather than desiring to be "king of the hill," yield to the King of the Hill. He was victorious over death on a cross on the hill of Mt. Calvary; He will be victorious in transforming our lives as well.

About Stuart Migdon
Stuart Migdon was raised in Reformed Judaism. He married and became a father at the age of 18. With no money and no one to help, he quickly determined he had to take control of his own life. He developed a "don't quit" attitude and set out to beat the odds that were already stacking up against him. While working a full time job to support his family, he also managed to graduate college in four years, and to do it with high honors. That same stubborn persistence propelled him to become a CPA and later a successful insurance agent. With a commitment to hard work and excellence, Stuart continued to achieve every goal that he set for his life. However, all the success in the world could not fill the emptiness that was growing within him.

In 1991, things began to change. He came to know Jesus as His Messiah and felt a strong desire to live a life that would really be pleasing to God. A life that he somehow knew was radically different than the one he had been living. With every ounce of his being, he was now determined to live that life.

Since then, Stuart has become an avid student of the Bible. Over the last five years, his thirst for more has led him into a detailed study of God's Word, and specifically the lives of the Bible's two central figures, Jesus and Moses. During this time he also began to realize that what had been driving him in his own study was more than just a personal quest for knowledge, it was actually a calling from the Lord. As a result, he began a new adventure as an author, and in 2008 published his first book, Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God.

Today, Stuart is a successful Christian businessman and serves as an elder and biblical counselor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in New Jersey. Stuart's growing understanding of his own need to let Jesus take the wheel of his life, has equipped him for the many situations he faces in ministry today. In every area, he challenges those he encounters to begin living a transformed life by letting Jesus have His rightful place behind the wheel of their lives.

Stuart and his wife Jeanne have two adult children, Jennifer and Jason, and one grandson.

Are you interested in reading Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God by Stuart Migdon? I am giving away a copy, courtesy of Jennifer Orgelfinger. (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Just post a comment here letting me know why you want to read this book. If you don't have a blog or your blog profile isn't working, make sure you leave me an email address where I can contact you if you win! ***If you don't provide a way for me to contact you, your entry won't be counted!***

This giveaway is open to readers everywhere!
***Deadline is Thursday, Nov. 6.***

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Jesus Take the Wheel for review purposes.


Serena said...

No need to enter me, but this sounds like something that people should consider picking up if they are interested in changing their perceptions and reactions to events in their daily lives.

Good review, even if you have not finished the whole devotional. I expect a full review when you are finished though.

Dawn said...

I'd like to enter Anna.

I'm guilty of being a control freak and I'm guilty also of saying "geez, they didn't even say Thank You". I guess we all need that reminder at times that it's not about that. ;O)

Shana said...

Anna, I'm looking forward to seeing your final thoughts on this book. I've tried picking up a few devotional type books but never got past the first few pages. I was always tempted to read on without actually internalizing what I was reading, which kind of seems the point of a devotional, so I'd get frustrated and put it aside.

Anyway, no need to enter me, you already know my issues right now with being overwhelmed by books :) but I did enjoy reading your thoughts on this one.


Jeannie said...

Hi Anna. No need to enter me. I want to say though that the article that you posted from the website makes some very good points. I'm guilty at times of worrying too much about what others think of me.

Unknown said...

I've bben looking for a new devotsional. This may be it. Thanks for entering me.

djecse at yahoo dot com

cpullum said...

I would really love to read this book. I am always trying to get closer to God!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

This sounds like a practical book for sure - enter me please!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I like that this book goes beyond Jesus and into the Old Testament as well. Much to be learned there, too.

No need to enter me, as always (I'm an Old Testament sort of girl, myself). I'm just dropping in to let you know I've got this posted at Win a Book.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a powerful devotional. Very brave also. To purport the 7 best ways to draw closer to God. As usual, I found value in your review (even though partially finished with the reading) Anna.

darbyscloset said...

I like the way Stuart writes, for I have never had self importance laid out for me like he has done in his 5 steps...I read and reread every word. I also like the journal you mentioned available on-line. I would find this book so valuable, please enter me!!! I also agree totally with Shana's often the book doesn't deliver what I am looking for and this book sounds like it gives you what it states it will.
Thank you for this post/introduction,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Bookfool said...

I'm not very good at letting go, either. Don't enter me, but I enjoyed your review!

Serena said...

you have been tagged here:

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good read. I'm sure it helps that you're putting in a good effort.

No need to enter me. I don't think I'm in a place right now to put in the effort. But, I look forward to your final thoughts on the book. Maybe then I'll reconsider.

Anna said...

Serena: I'm plugging along. If I have anything else to say when I'm done, I'll post another review.

Dawn: I agree, and we also need to remember that we're not perfect and no one expects us to be. :)

Shana: I feel the same way about many devotionals. I have one I read every morning, but they're about the daily mass readings. This one's a bit different, a bit deeper.

Jeannie: I'm one that worries about everything, but in recent months, I've stopped worrying so much about what people think, and I've been much happier!

Carol: You're very welcome!

Cpullum: Consider yourself entered!

Heather: You've got it!

Susan: Thanks so much for helping spread the word about the giveaway! And I agree that we can't forget about the Old Testament!

Marvin: I agree that it's powerful. If you get a chance to read it, I'd love to know what you think.

Bookfool: Letting go is so hard. I'm getting better at it, but it's a struggle.

Serena: Thanks for the tag. Don't know when I'll get to it, but I will eventually.

Nicole: I think it's important to know when you're ready to devote yourself to something because if you're not, you won't get anything out of it. I really appreciate your honesty!

windycindy said...

I like the statement, Instead of trying to be King of the Hill, follow the King of the Hill! Sounds like a book I could use. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Darlene said...

Again, no need to enter me but I blogged about it here:

Anna said...

Windycindy: I like how you put that! Makes a lot of sense!

Dar: Thanks so much for blogging about my giveaway. It's much appreciated!

Bonnie said...

I am looking for a good devotional book that will help me get through some things I am dealing with at the moment. This one sounds wonderful. Add my name, please!

Re said...

i enjoyed reading the post. Sometimes we need a guide to help keep us focused or to put us on the right track. I'd love to enter to win this book.

Anonymous said...

Great review! Would you like to participate in the Christian Book Carnival over on my blog sometime? Drop by and take a peek, I just posted this week's edition. I'd love to include any of your insightful reviews of Christian literature in any genre :).

Anna said...

Jennifer: Thanks! I'll definitely check out the Christian Book Carnival and let you know. I'm a bit swamped right now, but I'll be in touch!