About the Author: 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.
An Interview with Stuart Migdon
According to your bio, you are a Messianic Jew. Tell us your conversion story.
I was raised in Reformed Judaism, made my Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and was even confirmed in my Reformed Temple, playing the role of God in the class play! When I was 18 my girlfriend Jeanne got pregnant and we got married and had our daughter Jennifer a short time later. Suddenly, in addition to going to college full time I was working 50-60 hours a week to support my family. Money was tight, we were very poor and life was a struggle. I had no time for religion in my life and only focused on finishing college in four years, becoming successful and making a lot of money so I would never have to be poor again.
My life was consumed with striving for success and eventually I became physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. In my quest for success I decided to track down the leading salesman for an insurance company I worked with. I hounded Ron for months to meet with me and he finally agreed. During the meeting he told me many things he did for success but the last thing he told me is that he prayed before each sales appointment. I told him I thought that was strange and because of my answer he reached under his desk and handed me "the book" which he told me was the Bible written in fourth grade language for anyone to understand, I took the Bible and decided that I was going to read the Old Testament which I did just about every day for three years. I was searching for God and I didn't really even know it.
Even though the Bible Ron gave me had the New Testament in it I never considered opening it; I was Jewish and Jewish people did not read the New Testament. About three years later at the age of 33 I walked into a meeting with a prospect of mine, looking to sell him some disability insurance. As I walked into Sal's office I noticed a Bible on his desk and asked him why it was there. He told me that he was going to be leaving his job as the controller of a very successful company to become a full time minister. I told him that I couldn't believe that he would leave such a good job to do this and I also told him that I had been reading the Bible for the last three years.
Sal asked me some questions and then he asked me if I could ever believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. That was 17 years ago but I can still remember my response word for word. I told Sal that it would be easier to believe that I was a female then to believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah! Sal was surprised by my answer and asked me if he could pray for me. I told him no but he insisted. After making him explain exactly what he was going to do and say, I agreed to let him pray for me. Before I left, Sal invited me to his ordination as a minister which was scheduled in a month and to my surprise I agreed to go. I somehow felt drawn to go and I was even looking forward to it. During the service for Sal's ordination, I heard the gospel message for the first time in my life and I felt an irresistible desire to repent of my sins and receive Jesus as my Lord. I left my house that evening to go to the ordination a Jew who knew nothing about Jesus and I came home a Jewish believer in Jesus!
Most people would assume that when you began your relationship with the Messiah that Jesus was automatically in charge of your life. Did you find this to be true, or was it a struggle to keep Jesus in the driver's seat?
In the first few years as a Jewish believer I was fascinated by Messianic prophesy and I studied these prophesies regularly. I really enjoyed reading a prediction about the future coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament and then reading about the fulfillment of this prophesy in the life of Jesus. This study was strengthening my faith which was my daily prayer to God. However, in reading the Bible every day I realized that God desired for me to live a certain life for Him and I wanted to learn more about what that life was.
Before knowing Jesus I had read many self help books about how to live a successful life but none of the advice made sense to me anymore. Although I was changed by Jesus instantly, I was slowly learning what He required from me, how He wanted me to live for Him. I had lived such a "me" centered life before knowing Jesus, always thinking about how things would affect my life, that there was a lot of changing that needed to take place. I was a control person and so giving Jesus the wheel of my life was a difficult process. Fortunately the Bible is filled with examples of how to let Jesus take control of your life and the joy that it brings when you do!
What have you found to be a Christian's biggest obstacle in allowing Jesus to take the wheel?
The biggest obstacle Christians have in letting Jesus take the wheel is pride. We say that we have no pride but our actions speak differently. We think that we can control our lives and when we need God we call out to Him for help. The world around us is so "me" centered that we can easily be indoctrinated into believing the lie that we are good enough and able to be in control. In order to begin to let Jesus take the wheel, we must understand what it means to live in our relationship with God with childlike humility, which is the opposite of pride. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel begins with understanding childlike humility and why it's so important to God and how to live it every day in our relationship with Him.
Are there practical tips you can briefly share that help Christians keep Jesus at the wheel?
The most important thing to do in keeping Jesus at the wheel is to recognize whether He is truly there in the first place. We often think He is at the wheel of our lives but when probed, we find He is either in the back seat or in the trunk. One of the best indications of determining whether Jesus is at the wheel is to take a look at what you worry about. If you are worrying about your children, your job, your finances, your health, your spouse or anything else for that matter, chances are that Jesus is not fully at the wheel. Once you recognize that you need to move over and let Jesus drive, you are ready for the journey necessary to allow Him to remain at the wheel. This comes in changing life patterns and actions to no longer imitate anything of the world around us but instead to imitate Jesus. It's the journey to self denial that leads to total joy in Jesus.
How do you hope to reach Jewish people with the message of this book?
I am a Jewish believer in Jesus. The book, Jesus Take The Wheel is written for the Christian audience who is looking for a closer relationship with God and all the joy that brings. Therefore the book is not specifically designed for Jewish people who do not know the Lord. However my life as a Jew before knowing Jesus is depicted in the book and my new life as a Jewish believer reveals a changed man, only changed by the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Himself. Christians that read this book will be encouraged to tell their Jewish friends about the Jewish Messiah and be able to introduce them to a Jewish believer by recommending they read the book. What's also interesting is that one of the focal biblical characters written about in the book is Moses, the Most revered Jew of all time!
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