A megachurch pastor and his wife are asking the tough question of how people would live differently if they knew they had only one month left to live.
In their new book, One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, Pastor Kerry Shook and his wife, Chris, challenged readers to accept the reality of their mortality and to learn to live a more intentional and meaningful life without regrets.
"This is not a self-help book, but we feel it is a self-helpless book because we have to depend on the Lord everyday to live this lifestyle," Kerry Shook explained to The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"We say that there is no way to live these principles out that Christ lived without Christ's power living through you," Kerry said. "Really that comes down to surrendering daily to Him, to allow Him to fill you with strength."
The Shooks – founders of the 15,000-member Fellowship of The Woodlands Church in the Woodlands, Texas – said too often they hear people regretting how they lived their lives when they minister to people who find out that they don't have much time left on earth. The number one regret that people nearing the end of their lives have is how they handled relationships, according to the co-authors.
Many people regret not spending more time with their family, not forgiving someone earlier, or not living out their dreams when they were healthy. These repeated regrets inspired the Shooks to write the book and ask people why they can't start living a "no-regrets" lifestyle today instead of "someday."
The book is divided into four sections that help readers examine the core areas of a Christian life and learn to live each day without regrets. The four areas are: live passionately, love completely, learn humbly, and leave boldly.
"If I had to boil it all down I would say that it really comes down to intentionality," Kerry said, answering what one thing is needed to fulfill all four areas. "To live this lifestyle and these four principles you have to have God's power to live it through you.
He noted, "Chris and I had always had good intentions, but we never lived intentionally...we just sort of went through the motions."
But now the co-authors and life coaches have become "very intentional" about life and are "really living for God, living out His plan and purpose" each day.
The challenge can easily be applied to a church with a supplemental study guide and curriculum that can be incorporated into small group studies.
The Shooks' own church, Fellowship of The Woodlands Church, has gone through about half the challenge and Kerry said there has been "amazing" changes, such as changed lives and the church becoming more intentional about making a difference in the community and leaving behind a legacy.
"Everyone can relate to this question, 'What would I do if I had one month left to live,'" Kerry said. "Then when you take them to a new depth and they study Christ's life and really how Christ lived those last 30 days when he knew he had 30 days left, then I think it goes to a whole new level."
More than 500 churches across the United States have expressed interest in taking their congregations through the 30-day challenge, according to the Shooks. Among those that will go through the challenge is Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., which will begin the 30-day challenge the week after Easter.
Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church, wrote the forward to One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, which released last week.