TERRE HAUTE —
The number of people and churches taking part in the “One Month to Live” challenge in Terre Haute is rare and special, say the authors of the book prompting the local movement.
“There is something very special happening, where all these churches from different denominations are coming together,” said Kerry Shook, who with his wife, Chris, wrote The New York Times bestseller, “One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life.”
The challenge encourages people to start living their lives as if they have only 30 days left on earth.
The challenge, sponsored by Terre Haute Ministries, began March 1.
The Shooks, and their sons Josh and Ryan, were in Terre Haute Sunday to participate in a citywide service at Maryland Community Church. Kerry Shook spoke at the service to help celebrate and encourage the community.
“There is such power in the synergy of all these churches coming together,” said Chris Shook. “Folks from across the community are joining in a common cause. We’re really excited about it.”
In the morning, the Shooks participated in services at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church.
“We’re grateful the ‘One Month to Live’ challenge can be a catalyst for these kinds of things, bringing people together,” Kerry Shook said in an interview at Mount Pleasant Church.
The intent of the challenge is to get people to focus on priorities — relationships with people and with God — “so that at the end of your life you won’t have regrets,” said Chris Shook. “Why wait until the end to do that?”
Honnalora Hubbard, executive director of Terre Haute Ministries, said that in initiating the “One Month to Live” challenge, “We’re hoping for individual lives to be changed, for our churches to grow and for our city to be changed.”
Even those not particularly religious who have read the book say it is having an impact, Hubbard said.
“People are looking at their lives differently and changing the way they live their lives,” Hubbard said. They are examining what they can do differently to have a lasting impact on others.
Kerry Shook said he talked to a member of the Mount Pleasant congregation who said the book changed her life.
The woman and her sister hadn’t spoken in years, but after reading the book, she decided to reach out to her sibling. She wrote a letter and “wanted to be right with her,” Kerry Shook said. The sisters became close again. Recently, the woman’s sister died from cancer.
“Even if you make one or two little changes, it can make a big difference,” Kerry Shook said. Asking for, or giving forgiveness, are among the changes that can have a profound impact.
As he spoke at Mount Pleasant church, Kerry Shook spoke of the importance of forgiveness, regardless of the pain inflicted by another. Holding onto resentment poisons lives and relationships, he said.
“You need to release that resentment … because it only hurts you,” he said.
Also Sunday, the couple’s sons, Josh and Ryan, talked about their new book, “Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own.”
In the book, they share their own spiritual journey. While their parents had set a good example by living their faith, the sons found it was no substitute for developing their own up-close-and-personal relationship with God.