One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life

One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life

3.9 49
by Kerry Shook, Chris Shook

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“If you want new urgency, fresh purpose, and a sharper focus for your life, then this book is for you. Read it and your future may be changed forever!”
—Lee Strobel, best-selling author of The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus

Are you suffering from “someday”



“If you want new urgency, fresh purpose, and a sharper focus for your life, then this book is for you. Read it and your future may be changed forever!”
—Lee Strobel, best-selling author of The Case for Christ and The Case for the Real Jesus

Are you suffering from “someday” syndrome—always waiting for someday when your schedule calms down, your finances improve, or your kids grow up so you can begin to live the life you’ve always dreamed of?

What if you learned you had just one month to live? Without a doubt, you’d stop living on autopilot and determine to make the most of every moment.

You don’t have any time to waste.

Why wait to answer the longings of your heart? In One Month to Live, Kerry and Chris Shook show you how to stop waiting for “someday” and start now to make each day really matter. With contagious enthusiasm and practical insights, you’ll learn how to apply the four universal principles of a no-regrets life:

LIVE PASSIONATELY, living each day as if it were your last.
LOVE COMPLETELY, showing others love that transcends and transforms.
LEARN HUMBLY, growing through your problems and pain.
LEAVE BOLDLY, creating a legacy that will impact generations.

Each of the thirty chapters—one per day in a life-changing month—offers fresh strategies and tools to experience revitalizing change in core areas of your life. Uplifting true-life stories and thought-provoking questions will inspire you to squeeze all you can out of each day you’ve been given.

Stop wasting precious time. Start living today as God created you to live—passionate, fully alive, without regrets.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for One Month to Live

“So many of us waste our lives with ‘when and then’ thinking, believing that ‘when’ this or that happens, ‘then’ we will really start living and do something for God that really matters. That approach is guaranteed to leave you with regrets. At the end of your life, the only thing that will matter is whether you accomplished God’s purpose for your life. Jesus was just 12 when he said, ‘I must be about My Father’s business.’ Barely 20 years later, he could say to the Father, ‘I have completed the work you gave me to do.’ If we all had that kind of focus and concentration in our lives, there’s no telling what God could accomplish in the world! Kerry and Chris Shook want you to grasp that amazing insight: Embracing your mortality sets you free to live a meaningful and significant life without regret. One Month to Live is a great way to discover the purposeful, joyful, abundant life God created you to enjoy!”
Rick Warren, founding pastor, Saddleback Church, and author of international bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life

“Kerry and Chris Shook are world-class leaders whose lives and ministry have impacted untold numbers of people, including me. Regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey, One Month to Live will challenge you to passionately live the life you were made for and leave an eternal legacy.”
–Bill Hybels, Founding Pastor, Willowcreek Church and bestselling author of Too Busy Not to Pray 

“Kerry Shook is a friend, devoted father, supportive husband, and inspiring pastor. As one of today’s most gifted communicators, Kerry’s unique and creative style enables him to take the most complex issues and make them practical and relevant to daily living. He has a genuine love for people that is contagious. His ministry is changing the lives of individuals and families here in Houston and transforming communities all across the nation.”
–Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church and bestselling author of Your Best Life Now

“If you want new urgency, fresh purpose, and a sharper focus for your life, then this book is for you. Read it and your future may be changed forever!”
–Lee Strobel, author of The Case for the Real Jesus

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Read an Excerpt

Day 1: Introduction

Living the Dash

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”

“I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending, that haunts our sleep so much as the fear…that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived.”

Your time on earth is limited. No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it’s a fact. No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you’ve attained, or where you live, mortality remains the great equalizer. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you. Even as you read this paragraph, seconds passed that you can never regain. Your days are numbered, and each one that passes is gone forever.

If you’re like me, you may be tempted to view this reality as harsh and unwelcome, to let it overwhelm and even paralyze you. But that’s not my purpose in writing this book–just the opposite. Rather than inhibiting us to play it safe, I’m convinced that embracing our time on earth as a limited resource has incredible power to liberate us. For most of us, if we knew we only had one month to live, we would live differently. We would be more authentic about who we are and more deliberate about how we spent our time. But such a contrast begs the question: what keeps us from living this way now?

My motivation to find the answer–and better yet, to live it and help you live it–is born in part from my experience in ministry. In this role I’ve been privileged to spend time with many people as they face the imminent end of their lives on earth. While all of them struggle through the stages of grief–shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance–most of them make radical changes as a result of their awareness of their terminal conditions. They take license to say what they really feel and do what they really want. They ask for forgiveness and forgive others. They no longer think only of themselves but reach out to those they love and let them know how much they mean. They take risks they would never have taken before and allow themselves to lay worry aside and gratefully accept each new day. They seem to gain a new clarity on their priorities, like their relationship with God and leaving legacies that will endure.

Over the years of watching others live out their last days, I began to ask myself,
Why can’t all of us live more like we’re dying? Isn’t that how we were meant to live in the first place? To discover what we’re made for and to utilize our unique gifts in the limited amount of time we’re given?
So last year at a staff retreat I tried a little experiment and asked our team members this question: “If you knew you had one month to live, how would you live differently?” I gave everyone a journal and challenged them to live the next thirty days as if they were their last and to write down what happened.

The results were nothing less than life changing! At the end of the thirty days, we all had a greater clarity of purpose and a renewed passion for the things that really matter. Many people did big, once-in-a-lifetime things, like going on a dream vacation to Hawaii with their spouse, finally getting serious about a healthy lifestyle and losing twenty-five pounds, or reconciling a relationship with a parent that had been neglected for years.

For me, the little, daily things took on a whole new meaning and forever changed my life. Taking my youngest two children to school every day became a real joy. I became keenly aware of what a sacred moment it is every morning to play twenty questions with Steven and to make up silly songs with my teenage daughter, Megan. I made sure that I met my two oldest sons, Ryan and Josh, at their favorite restaurant once a week after school just to connect. Many of our staff members did whatever it took to be at all their children’s ball games, recitals, and school events. At the same time, I noticed that the team was more productive than ever, wanting the things they did at work to make a lasting impact.

I’ve since come to believe that the one-month-to-live lifestyle is universal in principle but unique in its expression. If we all lived as if we had one month left on this earth, we would each spend our days differently, in ways unique to us, and yet I believe we would all experience more fulfilling lives that could leave a legacy for eternity.

One Little Dash
Perhaps no place echoes with eternity quite like a cemetery. Not surprisingly, I’m fascinated by old gravestones and the lives they represent. The dates on some of the old monuments and grave markers in the Houston area where I live go back to the eighteen hundreds. My imagination launches me into the various stories that each marker tells. I find myself pondering what life was like in 1823 or 1914.

I know people back then had the same problems and pain as everyone does in life, but I wonder if they felt as stressed and pressured as I do. Our technology and modern conveniences have revolutionized our twenty-first-century lives but at what price?

Looking at old tombstones, I can’t help but recognize that entire lives are now reduced before me into two dates and one little dash. Some monuments include facts or sayings, Bible verses or poignant memorials, but each person’s life really comes down to what transpired between those two dates. It comes down to what’s in the dash. I look at the dash of a particular person’s marker and wonder,
What did he live for? Whom did she love? What were his passions? What were her biggest mistakes and greatest regrets?

When you think about it, we don’t have control over many things in life. We didn’t get to decide where we were born, who our parents are, or which time period and culture we face. We don’t get to decide the dates on our gravestone. We don’t know when our time on this earth will be up. It could be next week or next year or decades away. Only God knows. Our lives are in His hands. But there is one thing we have a vast amount of control over. We get to decide how we’re going to use our dash.

You get to choose how to spend that little dash of time between the two dates of your earthly existence. What are you spending yours on? Are you living the dash, knowing fully who you are and why you’re here? Or dashing to live, hurriedly spending precious time chasing things that really don’t matter to you? The psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should” (Psalm 90:12, TLB). God wants us to realize that our time on earth is limited so we will spend it wisely. But He gives us the choice about how we spend this most valuable currency.

No Change Required
While many of the people I’ve known who are facing death make radical changes in order to die well, occasionally I meet some who change very little. It’s not that they are unwilling to change. It’s that they have lived so deliberately and so authentically that the news of the end of this life doesn’t turn them upside down. Of course they grieve and struggle with the news. They ache for their families and the people they love. But they take comfort in knowing they have been living focused on what matters most to them: their relationships with the ones they love, their relationship with the God of the universe, and the fulfillment of their unique purpose on this earth.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend your life so that if you discovered you only had a month to live, you wouldn’t need to change a thing? What’s holding you back? What are you waiting on? Repeatedly in Scripture, God reminds us that our lives are short compared to eternity.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Of course I’m not encouraging you simply to live for today. Most of us can’t afford to quit our jobs overnight, say what we’re really feeling all the time, or act on every spontaneous idea. This kind of a lifestyle seems selfish and wildly indulgent and may indicate that such a person doesn’t believe there’s anything beyond this life. But life is more than what we know of it on earth. Even as we engage ourselves in the present, we must think through the eternal impact of how we live.

The Bible tells us that God has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He created us in His own image as spiritual beings but in fleshly bodies. If we’re honest, most of us sense there has to be more to our existence than what this world can offer.

This is the point where many people turn to faith. But just as some people live like there’s no tomorrow, others use their faith to live like there’s no today. They’re always thinking about heaven “some day” instead of fully experiencing life today. The only way we can live for eternity is to embrace each day as a gift from God. We must live in the tipping point between the everyday and the eternal. He created us and has given us another day to live–to know and experience His love, to love and serve those around us, to live passionately the life He’s made us for. The temporal nature of our lives should keep our focus on what matters most.

Thirty-Day Challenge
Be brutally honest with yourself. Your time on earth is limited. Shouldn’t you start making the most of it? If you knew you had one month to live, you would look at everything from a different perspective. Many of the things you do now that seem so important would immediately become meaningless. You would have total clarity about what matters most, and you wouldn’t hesitate to be spontaneous and risk your heart. You wouldn’t wait until tomorrow to do what you need to do today.

The way you lived that month would be the way you wished you had lived your whole life.

If you knew you had one month to live, your life would be radically transformed. But why do we wait until we’re diagnosed with cancer or we lose a loved one to accept this knowledge and allow it to free us? Don’t we want all that life has to offer? Don’t we want to fulfill the purpose for which we were created? Wouldn’t life be a lot more satisfying if we lived this way?

I’m challenging you to start living your life as though you have one month to live, and I’ve designed this book to help you. There are four universal principles in the one-month-to-live lifestyle: to live passionately, to love completely, to learn humbly, and to leave boldly. I’ve divided this book into four sections or “weeks” accordingly, and I encourage you to live these next thirty days as if they were your last. For each day there’s a chapter designed to help you focus on that week’s principle.

Each chapter also contains two features to inspire your thirty-day life experiment. Throughout each chapter, you’ll find “Make It Count Moments” with questions designed to help you examine your life and focus on what’s most important. The other feature, called “Make It Last for Life,” comes at the end of each chapter and offers ways to act on that day’s focus. These action points don’t require homework so much as they inspire lifework, ways for you to implement and personalize the material to your life. You may want to allow time to think through these items, to journal about them, and to pray about them. If you’re reading this book with others in a group, then this will be a great place to focus your discussion.

Regardless of how you use this book, my hope and prayer is that you’ll think seriously about what you want most out of life and what keeps you from pursuing it. I hope you’ll embrace the fact that someday your life will come to an end so you will begin to live each day more fully.

You don’t have to wait until there’s a crisis to consider how you can experience life to the fullest. If you’re willing to take this thirty-day challenge, be prepared for life to radically improve. You can live with no regrets and embrace a life so abundant you’ll wonder why you ever settled for less.

There’s no time like the present–right now!–to get started. Reading this book takes time, your most precious commodity, and I promise not to waste one second you spend on these pages. As you discover the life you were made for, today can truly be the first day of a life with no regrets. Claim today as the start of a month that’s guaranteed to change your life!


Meet the Author

Kerry and Chris Shook founded Fellowship of The Woodlands near Houston, Texas, with eight people in 1993. Since then, the church has grown to more than fifteen thousand people. Kerry’s sermons are televised nationally and internationally each week, reaching millions of people with innovative and inspiring messages.

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One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Who would have thought from a simple 30 Day Challenge that your life could be saved from a potentially fatal heart attack. When my wife and I took the thirty day challenge we both decided to shed a few pounds and work on a nutritional plan together to get into shape and have more energy in our mid-life. We planned a great anniversary vacation to Maui. After losing over a hundred pounds together I suffered a minor heart attack that the doctor said could have been fatal or with permanent heart damage had I not lost the weight due to the one month to live challenge. The whole experience has restored my passion for life. Instead of just existing we have discovered how to really live with meaning and purpose in each moment. Read the book for yourself and take the challenge. It could very well save your life. I'm thankful I did.
FallenAngel More than 1 year ago
I bought this book after seeing it on a news program.There was a church that had taken this and made a program to change their members lives.I am not a very religious person so I was skeptical but intrigued.I started out reading a chapter every day,as they recommended.I tried to follow the basic tenets of each one in my daily life.After the first week I found I was trying to look at my life in a more positive way.I will probably reread this book many times and have given it a permanent place on my nightstand.This would make a good gift for someone who is struggling with their faith or personal issues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader, mainly history and non-fiction, this book is the most inspiring 'Study' of what is truly important. This text helps everyone get rid of 'what is not important' and focus on what 'is important'...... buy several copies because you will want to give this book as gifts to everyone you love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I believe the book was very inspiring. There were moments in reading it when I had to just sit back an take a few seconds to think on my life and how I could have doen things differently or how I can live/look at things differently. It is one book that I feel all of us need to just read over. I do like the questions that are given at the end of each chapter. They give one a chance to review and look at one's own life. It's a book to be given to anyone - of all ages. From college age to middle age. We are never too old to make changes in our lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we lose perspective in life. It is very easy to get caught spending lots of time on the stuff that has little or no lasting impact on our lives. One Month to Live has helped remind me what it means to live life with the proper perspective. It has challenged me to look at life through the right lenses and begin to prioritize the things that really matter. I look forward to what the future holds as I pursue life with this new outlook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books you want to read more than once and then share with others. Very inspirational reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book .. put together very will and gets you thinking ... I have it on audio as well .. even better !!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One Month to Live presents a really compelling question--one that's a bit scary but impossible to put aside once you start thinking about it. The stories and tools it provides for evaluating priorities, recalling lost dreams and getting out of the 'someday syndrome' are life-changing. While reading it, I learned so much about myself, and did some impactful work in the Make it Last a lifetime section. Now, my goal is to turn the 30-day challenge into a whole new lifestyle and truly make it last.
WereJumpin More than 1 year ago
One Month to Live by Kerry & Chris Shook I hope you have noticed I started the Purpose Driven Life Challenge and come to find out Rick Warren (the author of Purpose Driven Life) wrote the Forward to the book One Month to Live, How amazing, right!? One Month to Live is similar to the Purpose Driven Life layout. It gives you daily challenges (which I will be doing in the future) to complete with "make it count moments" questions and "make it last for life" actions. We all tend to live life as in we will be here forever, when in reality we are not granted to be on this physical earth tomorrow. So, why not live our life like tomorrow may be our last? Live passionately. Love completely. Learn Humbly. and Leave Boldly. Readers are encouraged to enjoy one chapter a day for thirty days while figuring out how they would live their life if they only had thirty days to live. It is so easy to read, awesome analogies and advice. I would suggest this book to friends/family. Be prepared for lots of self-examination. This book will reveal that you have a much-needed eternal perspective and you will be reminded of the depth and meaning God has in store for us. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are going to read this book you better be ready for so life changing things to happen!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very informative and thought provoking. It really stretched my efforts in trying to become a better person and made me look at what it must be like with little time left here on earth. WE all should live like this every day. For anyone who feels bound by their anger, guilt, hurt or pain or the past in general, I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score." I thought that the book was just about forgiveness, I soon learned, it was about so much more than that. I was about how you should deal with friends, family and yourself and more importantly, how to keep these relationships strong when things go wrong. Having read it, I feel like a better person. Maybe because this book spoke to me and not down to me. I have read a lot of books that was written like I didn't know anything. What the author of "When God Stopped Keeping Score" does is talk to you like a friend. I needed that. You will understand why when you read it. It is available here on
LadyLScott4 More than 1 year ago
This book will cause you to rethink the way that you are living your life and it will cause you to research why you do the things that you do and cause you to be truthful in your motives as well as compel you to be about the goals and task in your life that you have procrastinated at.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One Month to Live has inspired and challenged me to focus on what's most important in my life - my wife, my kids, my relationships with others - my relationship with God - Jesus Christ. Each chapter is full of 'Make it count' thoughts and action items that really drove me to focus on how to put my words and intentions into actions. This is an excellent book for anyone who is looking for purpose and clarity on what this life is all about and how to make best use of the limited time we have. I have already purchased several copies for friends and family!! A must read for sure!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AMR0406 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It really helped me figure out what was important in my life and what I could do without.  I was able to put things into perspective a little better in my life and  reminded me that people are important and not to take my family and friends for granted. I really enjoyed that One Month to Live has daily reading and journal writing. The journal writing was specific, which suits me because I am not one to open up and just pour out my heart on paper. I need direction to get me thinking and even praying sometimes. I find I get the most out of nonfiction books when they involve some sort application. If you are looking for a life changing book that is easy to read with practical advice and application, I highly recommend One Month to Live.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jusf read the free sampie. Dont want to over/under rate this book unfairly for this reason. The first chapter seems like a goood read for a small group something you want to read with someone else and bounce ideas with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an awesome book gave me things to think about
smithk_poet More than 1 year ago
Living A Better Life This book “One Month To Live” is a great example of living on purpose and fulfilling your destiny. Each one of us has a pre-destined plan for our lives the moment we were created. This book will be a good witnessing tool as well as for those who recently gave their lives to Christ. This book reminds us not to take each day nor our lives for granted. We ought to live each day as if it was our last and find the favor God give us to be gracious. Even in the midst of unpleasant circumstances, we are yet covered by prayer and grace. We won’t always understand how God works, but there is always confirmation to assure us of His word. There is nothing like resting in the Lord and knowing that He has all your issues, cares and concerns in control. We have to step out on faith and believe in His word, and then you will see the works of the Lord. “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.
TemporaryWaffle More than 1 year ago
Pretty good book. Hard to follow through since it's like a devotional and I have a difficult time reading only a chapter a day :) but there was a lot of great points throughout the book and enjoyed the questions/activities at the end of each chapter. Really puts your thoughts into perspective, thinking about how you've been living your life.
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JKTatiana More than 1 year ago
A great book to help you learn to live intentionally. This is a great opportunity to reflect on how you are living your life. Are you living for tomorrow or are you living for today?
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