What if… New Joy church begins ‘One Month to Live’ challenge

By on March 1, 2012

By: ANDREA GILLHOOLLEY Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

What would you do if you only had one month to live?

Would you make amends to the people you’ve wronged?

Would you spend less time on social media sites and more time in real social situations?

People — and that’s probably most of us — wait until that mysterious time when schedules clear up, finances improve and children grow up to finally start living the life they’ve envisioned.

It’s called the "Someday Syndrome," and the New Joy Brethren in Christ Church is challenging its congregation and the community to put that day off until tomorrow.

Starting March 4, the Ephrata Township church will begin the "One Month to Live" series on Sundays, based on the book by Kerry and Chris Shook that takes people on a 30-day journey to live a life with no regrets.

"All of us can think of all the things we’ve never done," said Associate Pastor Dave Miller. "It’s a kind of thing that, sometimes, people can lose their heart very easily with circumstances and life things that happen."

The book describes four life-changing principles: live passionately, love completely, learn humbly and leave boldly. The program will have a six-week preaching component and participants in the program will begin reading the book, answering reflective questions and have discussion starting the following week. The program will end on Easter Sunday.

"This is the same time frame that Jesus knew he only had one month to live," Miller said. "When you look at the series, Jesus lived in those ways."

This is the first time the New Joy church has attempted the program, but Miller has had experience with it in two of his previous churches at Hempfield Brethren in Christ Church in Lancaster County and Ransom Creek Community Church in Buffalo, N.Y.

"For me personally, one of the prayers in my heart was to be more compassionate," Miller said. "I think that was a particular theme that I connected with most personally, just realizing the passion Christ has for us and making that personal for my life. Sometimes, you can just go through the motions, and I don’t want to do that. I have five kids, and I want to be a good example to them as well."

For others in the New York church, the series brought about a community service project when a small group of people decided to serve others in the community because of the series.

Pastor Jeffrey Dunlevy said he learn of the series last year and was intrigued by the premise.

"It is easy to live our lives with little thought of mortality until we are faced with a life-threatening disease or some type of traumatic situation grabs our attention," he said. "I have the same goals for our members as those in the community."

Dunlevy, he said, would like to see participants living their lives with more joy and hope, cherishing loved ones, experience God’s presence in their lives, be more aware of the needs of others around them, fulfill their potential and not waste their lives, and celebrate today since tomorrow is never certain.

To join the program, call Miller at 733-2864. Donations will be accepted to cover the cost of the books. More CHALLENGE, page A18

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