WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
Joseph D. Schneller, author of Your Average Joe Unplugged, writes a devotional true to the title: an aid for all the everyday Christians out there. From theological struggles to unemployment, Schneller uses Scripture and personal experience as encouragement for the working-class believer. The author sets the theme of his book with James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Spread throughout the book, small sections titled “But Seriously . . . ” break away from the scriptural and spiritual sides of devotionals and, instead, simply entertain readers with fun stories that “Average Joes” love to hear. Presented in a thirty-day format, normal chapters contain a practical lesson, a passage of Scripture, personal encouragement from the author, and a prayer. Schneller makes a connection with the average person by describing his struggles with unemployment and dissatisfaction with the entry-level, low-paying jobs he was forced to take after America’s economical crisis in 2008.
As an ex-Marine captain, Schneller understands perseverance; his writing style displays an honest longing for audience members to know perseverance as well. On “Day 8,” the author becomes more real, personal, and meaningful than ever before. He writes, “I do not know by what means the Lord will provide. I range from hope, despair, freedom, shame, depression, faith, and anger. There has never been more at stake for me” (p. 23). I recommend this book to people who have struggled with unemployment or who are new Christians and want a book that is theologically friendly.
Your Average Joe Unplugged offers a refreshing blend of honesty and humility in this daily devotional. There is no substitute for real-world life experience when addressing the doubt and struggles we all face. Average Joe is brave enough to step into the limelight and expose doubt and fears. After drawing the reader in with honest vulnerability, Your Average Joe then has the wisdom to offer refreshment and hope from God’s Word.
One of my favorite observations of Average Joe is “Your Today’s Encouragement.” This offers both practical application and a spiritual-growth moment. It is like Your Average Joe offers you a cup of coffee and says, “Ok, now you understand what God has for you, what are you going to do with it?”
Your Average Joe has a finger on the pulse of the American public and that is revealed in his careful writing of “Today’s Prayer.” Many Americans struggle with prayer. Your Average Joe offers prayers that effectively voice being tired, worn out, beaten up, and discouraged. Then the prayer gently shifts to recognition of God’s grace and mercy. There are layers of truth and encouragement written into each prayer. By the time you finish the Your Average Joe 30 day devotional, you will know God better and have a more clear understanding of how much He loves you.
I wasn’t quite sure when I first ordered this book what to expect. However, when I began reading, I couldn’t stop laughing. He has a comical view on every aspect presented in this book. It hits close to home for those who have been without a job wrestling with their faith. The book really made me feel closer to God. After reading it, I was happy to pass Your Average Joe along to whomever I could. I was thrilled with it completely. I was so glad that I got the book. I’d tell you in a heartbeat to go get this book for yourself today! Add it to your library. It would make a great Christmas gift. I give this book five stars!
Christine M. Miller-Ramey
Anything but average! Exceptionally warm and witty devotionals interspersed with excellent humor columns.
James N. Watkins, Columnist; Author, humor textbook Writing with Banana Peels
Joe Schneller sees the profound in the simple, the eternal in the ordinary, and thus catches glimpses of God’s grace at work in everyday life where we spend most of our time. Behind the humor is keen insight into trusting, loving, and obeying God.
Gerald L. Sittser, Theologian; Author of Water from a Deep Well
The author finds victory through faith and gut-level logic… a brand of street-smart theology that is very appealing.
Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Author of Man to Man
Honest and funny, with Bible verses related to real life, such as career, marriage, and dealing with fear. You’ll find yourself encouraged.
Matt Erickson, Walk Thru the Bible Ministries
Joseph Schneller lost his business, a restaurant franchise, in 2008, about the same time the economy took a nosedive. As he struggled with the challenge of job-hunting, paying the bills, and being a husband and father to his family, he wrote a blog chronicling his spiritual battles. Those blog posts became the book, Your Average Joe Unplugged.
It’s a one-month devotional, but more than a devotional. Schneller walks us through his own experience, as he applies the Bible and its promises to the day-to-day challenges and fears of an unemployed “average Joe.” There is much insight here, and courage I can only admire. Also humor, very well done.
I can hardly think of a more timely book. Your Average Joe Unplugged is highly recommended, especially for those seeking jobs, underemployed, or worried about their jobs.
And who isn’t right now?
Joe Knows God!!!
This book is so hilarious!!! I had no idea that an Average Joe could be so funny and so spot on when it comes to life, family and God. Originally, I bought this book for my husband, but I decided to read it myself before he gets to it and I am so glad I did. Joe Schneller is an average guy, like most of us, who has problems and real-life issues. He talks to you like he’s your neighbor or friend, he really gets our struggles and gives great, practical advice that anyone can use. Joe is a very blessed man, and he has found the way to a deep, meaningful relationship with our Lord, and if Joe can do it, we all can do it too!!
Steffanie (From Amazon.com)
After I got Joe’s book, I thought I’d just read the intro to start, but his subject matter and writing style kept me reading – I read the first four devotionals in one sitting. It’s not often that I’ll read something that makes me alternate between laughing out loud (which I rarely do when I read) and tearing up, but Your Average Joe made me do just that, several times over, during the first reading. I shared the book with my husband, and now he’s reading it each day during his daily Bible reading. The devotional topics, and how the author explores them, are by turns funny, insightful, thought-provoking, and surprising. I appreciate the author’s strong understanding and interpretation of scripture, and how he keeps each message Christ-focused (not self-focused). This book will appeal to both men and women (especially husbands and wives).
J. Riddle (Spokane, WA) (From Amazon.com)
Can a devotional be funny, informative, and simply plain easy to read? Sure. Why not? Humor is the approach author Joseph D. Schneller has taken in his soft cover devotional, Your Average Joe Unplugged, a 30-day reflection on 21st-century living for guys who love their God.
Once in a while a devotional comes along that stands conventional wisdom on its head, and this book qualifies as one. The former U.S. Marine Corp. captain turned author brings a refreshing reality to the Christian walk taken by many guys, men who approach God with reverence while still trying to be the husbands, fathers, businessmen, or workers who are so very prone to temptation and making mistakes, yet who desire to live victorious, overcoming lives.
Joe’s humorous approach is at once appealing as it is illuminating. That side of him is most evident in six interspersed “But Seriously” chapters, where he lightens up and allows his humor to roam unchained.
In his “So You’re Gonna Be a Daddy” chapter, Joe shares the experience of a man who learns that his wife is pregnant. Talk of “tinkling on a stick” to confirm the pregnancy gives way to having a man crisis – such as wanting to buy that fast, red sports car you always dreamed about.
Yes, if being a husband doesn’t sometimes seem confining, becoming a father and suddenly coming face-to-face with the reality of being responsible for a young person’s life for the next two decades can seem downright scary…and restrictive. Once you realize the awesome work of God at hand as He begins to shape life within your wife’s belly, thoughts of football, food, and selfish desires quickly fade into the background.
Schneller’s daily devotionals make for an easy read, served up in one-page segments focused on thought-provoking topics such as truth, fear, or danger. Following that, he offers up a “Bread for the Soul” section divided into three parts: Today’s Scripture, Today’s Prayer, and Today’s Encouragement.
In “Truth and the Spiritual Starbucks,” Schneller gets to the heart of the matter and notes that truth for many people is relative and is often muddled by what the world says, by what other religions teach, or is based on a person’s made-to-order beliefs. The Starbucks analogy is a good one as it shows how many people approach truth: we pick and choose the “drink” to suit ourselves. Never mind that we’re always inconsistent and that we never look at the menu in the way that God does.
Schneller invites the reader to consider that truth can be known, that truth must be followed and that truth is liberating. In another chapter the author notes that “tolerance” is often substituted for truth, but its end is the same – people whose lives are not based on biblical wisdom will find themselves shipwrecked. Being “good enough” in one’s own eyes is never good enough for God: men need to know that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” and that no one can come to God except through Him (John 14:6).
Unplugged can be just the right book to give to a guy who may not like to read or who struggles with some of the traditional devotionals plugged by churches such as My Utmost for His Highest. This easy read plus a modern translation of the Bible may inspire your guy to dig deeper, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to His heart, perhaps in a way He has never experienced previously.