When Jennifer's father Dave Chilcoat was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) he was faced with difficult questions.  The answers he found and shared through his online journal later became this book...

Nobody Tells a Dying Guy to Shut Up

Book coverIf you knew you had only a few years to live, how would you use that time? Would you allow despair to overwhelm you or would you find a way to still have a life? How could you keep the fear of death from ruining the days you had left?

Many people have considered these questions in theory, but when Dave Chilcoat was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal illness for which there is no treatment and no cure, he had to face them in reality.

The day he received his diagnosis Dave began writing a journal. Soon, to keep family and friends updated on his condition, he posted his journal online. He wrote weekly for nearly three years and his chronicle was read by tens of thousands around the world.

This book is the heart of that journal, the living account of an ordinary man who faced death with a unique brand of humor, an unshakable faith in God's goodness and grace, and a heart open to God's purposes.

The Story

Dave Chilcoat and his wife Beth came to Columbus, Ohio, in 1970 to start Young Life, a ministry dedicated to introducing adolescents to Christ. Ten years later, he felt called to law school and subsequently practiced law for 25 years. Blessed with work, four kids, (then) six granddaughters, golf to play and plenty of Pittsburgh sports on TV - Dave's life was full.

In 2003, Dave was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). With that diagnosis, Dave and Beth's circumstances changed dramatically, but their God did not.

Day by day, as ALS literally stole Dave's health and strength, they watched the amazing miracle of God giving each of them spiritual strength in even greater abundance. Together they came to know God's joy and His enabling power as He walked them though those difficult years.

Faced with the reality of death, Dave chose life. He captured and commented on the experience of living in dying through an online journal, a candid account of parallel progression - physical decay and spiritual growth. Dave wrote weekly for nearly three years and his chronicle was read by tens of thousands around the world. Like the Psalmist, he described his situation, poured out his heart and witnessed to God's presence in it all.

Beth compiled this journal excerpt, which follows the progression of the disease, highlights their devotion to one another, and continues Dave's remarkable expression of love for and faith in Jesus Christ with intensity and humor.

Dave taught thousands how to live through his Young Life ministry, speaking and teaching, and day-to-day faith. With this book he guides us through death into new life, trusting in the power of God's love.


Where To Get It

Nobody Tells a Dying Guy to Shut Up can be purchased in any of the following ways:

  • Right here on jennifershaw.com in the Store
  • At any of Jennifer's events
  • On Amazon in both paperback and hardcover

Words of Praise...

Dave and Beth Chilcoat are two of my all time heroes. When Dave was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), he and Beth faced this debilitating and deadly disease with faith, courage, perseverance, and yes... humor. This is the story of their life together, and of Dave's death, as told through Dave's journal - a story no one will want to miss. Through it all, their relationship to Jesus Christ remained pre-eminent and was the reason for the grace with which they approached life and faced death. After reading this book, you sense the truth of the Apostle Paul's words, ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain.'

Denny Rydberg, President, Young Life


Woven into the story of Dave Chilcoat's battle with ALS are golden threads - Scripture, humor and tenacious love between a man and a woman. Wise people everywhere will treasure this guide. What Dave proclaimed to thousands in life, he experienced deeply in death and continues to share here: that the Gospel is the only hope for life, and death, and life again, forever.

Kelly Monroe Kullberg, author of Finding God Beyond Harvard: the Quest for Veritas, and Founder, the Veritas Forum


Corrie ten Boom, a Christian prisoner in a Nazi death camp, once said, ‘There is no hole so deep that God's love is not deeper still.' Dave Chilcoat's hole was the devastating impact of ALS that cut him down in the prime of his life. But this remarkable journal records Dave's discovery that Jesus' love is indeed deeper still. His profound insights are applicable to all of us who want to enjoy God's love in deeper ways.

Gary DeLashmutt, Lead Pastor at Xenos Christian Fellowship, Columbus, Ohio, and author of Loving God's Way and Spiritual Relationships That Last