- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Mark Cahill Ministries; 5th edition (December 31, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0964366576
- ISBN-13: 978-0964366572
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 137 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Heartbeat Away: Your Journey into Eternity Paperback – December 31, 2005
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"I just finished reading your new book One Heartbeat Away-keep the presses running! This book is a 'must' to have ready to give a person who is searching for the most important answer… where will you be after you leave this planet.""One Heartbeat Away is an AMAZING book and I really recommend reading it! It is a powerful tool/resource to use in leading your friends to Christ!""One Heartbeat Away is the most all-encompassing book I have ever read to simply answer every question a non-believer could have.""If I could get atheists or agnostics to read only one Christian book (other than the Bible), I would give them One Heartbeat Away. I plan to use it as a tool to give people who are 'on the fence' in their faith. I plan to 'loan' it to them and then discuss it with them when I come to pick it up or they return it.""Just want you to know that I loved the way you wrote this one (One Heartbeat Away). Written specifically for the lost and searching, but with a style that equips the believer in solid Christian apologetics, this book is a real one-two punch. Also, the title is BRILLIANT!""Have to say, I just finished reading your second book, and was absol… utely astounded and amazed. Anyone, Christian and non-Christian needs to read One Heartbeat Away. Phenomenal book. I have 0% doubt of anything in my faith and I am amazed by some of the experiences you talk about. Thank you, Mr. Cahill, keep up the good work!""After reading the first chapter in One Heartbeat Away I had to stop and get to sharing. Thank you for a wonderful book and thank you for being a strong example.""I just finished One Heartbeat Away. Thank you for changing a science teacher's point of view from evolution to the fact that there has to be a Great Creator!""I am an atheist and as such I was a little timid to read One Heartbeat Away. In the first few chapters there were a lot of arguments that I honestly knew I couldn't refute and that's a first.I don't mean to brag but I'm usually pretty good at arguing my case. It was nice to see a religion supporter debate on the plane of logic as opposed to just relying on 'I don't need to prove anything as long as I believe it.'""Having been raised in the Mormon cult, I've been searching for an effective witnessing tool to reach my family. Mark Cahill's One Heartbeat Away is just such a tool! My Mormon parents were the first to receive a copy.""So far [One Heartbeat Away] has strengthened my faith and reinforced the fact that there is a heaven and hell. I don't see how anyone can read this book and not see that there is a creator GOD, who sent his Son to die for the sins of the world. It is the best apologetics I have seen or read. Keep up the great work Mark!""Thank you for your book One Heartbeat Away. I was truly impacted by the results of the pulmonary surgeon's interviews with people who had died on the operating table and had been revived again. It is very troubling to me that about half of those who had a near death experience saw hell. The thought of so many people seeing hell will continue to be a vivid reminder to me to witness whenever I am able.""During a recent Sunday evening service at our local corrections facility, one of the inmates declared: 'When I started reading [One Heartbeat Away], I doubted that there was a God. After reading over 20 pages, I now believe in God.""I love the way you put things, simple… I am sometimes so passionate about Christ that I intimidate people, but giving away this book helped me play the supportive role instead of the lead. Your book walks them right down the path, handling all the excuses, tangents, and questions. Thanks for keeping it simple and 'on point.' We all are 'One Heartbeat Away'!""[One Heartbeat Away] explained to me all of my questions about afterlife and eternity itself. Yes, that book has become my 'journey into eternity.' I find it fascinating to go over its pages.""One Heartbeat Away is a great book that gave me more confidence when dealing with my more 'skeptic' friends. We all have friends that, regardless of the change in our lives and the strength of our own testimony, just can't grasp the concept of a loving, all powerful God. Thanks Mark, for taking the time to research and write such a powerful tool to help win the world for Christ.""My 78-year-old mother professes to be a Christian, but I felt that she still didn't understand salvation. She was looking for something to read, and I recommended your book, One Heartbeat Away. She finished it in two days, loved it, and now understands the purpose of Jesus' life and death. Thank you for writing your book in such an easy-to-understand tone!"
"This resource can reach a broader range of people than almost any I’ve come across: young, old, kind, or cruel. Solid truth presented in a challenging, readable form. We truly believe this book helps patients leave our office with their spiritual eyes open. We’ll soon be ready for 1,500 more." ―S Kirkham, MD Ophthalmologist “I just finished reading your new book, One Heartbeat Away: Your Journey Into Eternity―keep the presses running! This book is a ‘must have,’ ready to give a person who is searching for the most important answer. ‘Where will you be after you leave this planet?’” ―Rick Brothers “One Heartbeat Away is done very well and does a fantastic job of explaining who we are and what we’re here on earth for. You won’t hear a better explanation of the Gospel than this (other than the Bible of course!). Basically, it’s one giant tract! If only all 7 billion people in the world could read this book! I thank God for you Mark.” ―B McCurdy, 35 Real Estate Agent, Cottonwood, CA “Now that my friends and I are closing in on 40 and have children who mean so much to us, we need to be able to answer the most important question there is. ‘What happens after this?’ If for no other reason than to lead our children the right way. We all are ‘One Heartbeat Away!’” ―Scott Gallagher
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Thesis of the Book. There is a Creator, who is evidenced in Creation; who is revealed the Bible; who is made manifest in Jesus; and who destroyed "the sin barrier between man and God by the sacrifice of Himself [Jesus], and... will come again to judge everyone" (p57). "We have each broken the commands of Almighty God" (p167), will all die (and have no idea when we will die), and will be guilty on Judgment Day. Therefore, we need to turn away from our sins and receive God's forgiveness. In other words, the thesis is basically the salvation story.
Intended Audience. This book obviously is primarily intended for non-Christians. However, it would be useful for Christians who would like to be armed with information to help guide a non-Christian to understanding the Gospel and basic evangelical apologetics. Additionally, this would be a useful book for Christians to purchase in order to give to non-Christians.
Structure of the Book. As mentioned above, Cahill uses a series of questions and answers to build his argument for the need of salvation. He begins with questions such as "where does lightening come from, or a brilliant rainbow?" (p15) to then build a case for a Creator. From there, he juxtaposes evolution and Creator to demonstrate the hand of God in the beginning of life.
Cahill's next logical step is: if there is a God, which religion's concept of God is correct and which religious text is valid (if any)? Cahill uses archeological, scientific, and prophetic evidence to show the Bible is the writing of a Divine Hand through devoted men (p62).
The next two chapters are devoted to answering the question of what awaits us after death, and by what standard we'll be judged. This leads logically to the next two chapters on guilt and the gift of salvation. Over the last few chapters, Cahill explains how the unsaved can repent and turn to Christ, and then live a life following and growing in Christ.
Summary of Content. When we look at Creation, why do we not think there is a Creator behind it? Some people think it takes blind faith to believe in a Creator, but believers have a calculated faith (p17). Part of that calculated faith is the evidence of Himself that the Creator left behind. For instance, which takes more faith to believe: nothing turned itself into everything, or God created everything out of nothing?
Some point to evolution as a counterargument against a Creator (although that still leaves the beginnings of the universe unexplained). However, whereas there is evidence for microevolution (small-scale adaptation and natural selection), macroevolution (one species transforming into another species) has never been observed and is therefore unscientific (p30). "Everything in the fossil record appears fully formed and true to its own kind," (p34) with no examples of transitional forms between species. Similarly, despite earnest attempts, scientists "have never been able to create life from non-life" (p31). As for humans, no missing link between apes and humans has ever been proved, despite evolutionists' claims that this would have happened relatively recently and therefore should be plentiful (p38). The evidence leads not to proof of evolutionary theory, but to the miracle of creation.
If we are a product of Creation, why did the Creator create us? Did He leave us a way to know Him? There are many texts that various religions consider holy. Since these texts and religions make various claims, they can't all be true; in fact, there can be only one truth. While all other religious texts were written by men who claimed to be speaking for God, only the Bible claims to have been written by God speaking to men (p63). There is archeological and external evidence to show historical support for the Bible. There are over 2,000 detailed prophecies in the Old Testament, all of which---except for end times prophecies---have been fulfilled (p69). Jesus alone fulfilled over 300 prophecies in his life (p79).
What does the Bible say will happen to us when we die? Daniel 12:2 says that after death we will awake to everlasting life or everlasting contempt (in hell) (p89). In heaven, there will be no pain, disease, sorrow, or death, and we will be able to talk face-to-face with our Creator (p92-93). Hell, on the other hand, is a place of punishment; it is a place of suffering and an unquenchable fire. Some people prefer to think of God as one who is only love and would never send anyone to hell. However, God is not what we want Him to be; He is who He is, despite our thoughts of what He should be. God doesn't desire for people to go to hell, but people choose their own will instead of God's; "if they hate the thought of God in this life, they will hate being with Him in the next" (p97).
If the choice after death is between heaven and hell, what criterion is used to decide which place we go? It is wrong to assume that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. If we fail to meet God's standards (i.e., if we sin), then we deserve hell. The standards of God's law are captured in the Ten Commandments. If we have ever lied, stolen, lusted for anything or anyone, spoken irreverently of God, etc., we have failed to meet these standards. According to the Bible (James 2:10), if we have broken just one of the Ten Commandments, it's as if we broke them all (p132). All of us are guilty.
If we all deserve hell, then how do we avoid it? Fortunately for us, God allows us to substitute a sacrifice for our own sins. In the Old Testament, we find that "God used animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins" (p146). The animal's blood served as the substitute for people's sins. However, the temple used for sacrifice has been gone for almost 2,000 years, so how can blood be sacrificed? Jesus never sinned, so he is the "perfect once-and-for-all sacrifice for all sin of all sinners" (p149). He is the only way to heaven. We can't cover our sins with good deeds, but the blood of Jesus can make our sins pure and white (p155). As God incarnate, He died and then rose again ("seen by at least 552 people in thirteen places over a period of forty days" (p163).
What do we need to get right with God? We should repent, or turn away from our sins and toward God. At the same time, we place our faith and trust in Jesus as our Savior. When we do that, we become a new creature and are no longer condemned (p168). We then carry on with a new heart and mind, relying on Jesus to help us overcome temptations.
We must make a decision to follow Jesus or not follow Him. To avoid making a decision or "sitting on the fence" is the same as choosing hell (p177). Additionally, following Jesus is not a promise of a life without problems; in fact, the more a person follows Jesus, the more they may face persecution and tribulation (p179). However, even when Christians face ostracism or persecution, God is with His followers.
After making a decision to follow Jesus, we must allow God to mold us and do great things through us while we remain on earth (p199). He will work through us to make us reflect repentance and faith. God didn't create us to be exactly the same, so He will work through us in different ways. However, if we follow Jesus, we will want to reach the lost; we will want to tell them about the good news of Jesus.
Critique. This book is an excellent example of a logical flow of presenting the Gospel. Where to begin witnessing with the Good News depends on where someone is in their spiritual journey. Cahill makes the good decision to start with the very beginning: is there a Creator? His progression from there follows what I believe to be a logical sequence of questions that a non-Christian might ask. He answers each set of questions with about the right amount of thoroughness.
One of this book's strengths is the number of examples Cahill includes of personal witnessing; each chapter has several first-person stories of sharing the Good News. This not only helps provide information to strengthen the topic he is presenting for the chapter, but also provides a Christian with examples of how to witness to non-Christians. While it's practically impossible to anticipate every question someone may bring up when a Christian shares the Gospel with them, having various examples in several areas (creationism vs. evolution, condemnation of the Law, decision to follow Christ, etc.) gives the Christian who may be new to evangelism a sample on which to build.
Another of the book's strengths is that the text is straightforward and easily understood. Some books with an evangelical apologetics bent seem to me to get bogged down in philosophical, theological, or scientific discussions that the average layman wouldn't understand. Even when discussing evolution, Cahill tends to keep the discussion at an everyman's level. This will certainly be beneficial if the reader is a non-Christian looking for answers about God.
The book is also not without some flaws. While I understand that some Christians insist that the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is the only "true" version, I believe that Cahill's use of the KJV actually hinders the book's effectiveness. As just stated, Cahill keeps his text at an everyman's level; yet he uses the KJV to quote Scripture. Today's readers would much more easily understand a modern English version. If the primary purpose of the book is to reach non-Christians, it seems to me that Cahill would use a Biblical translation that the widest audience would easily understand.
One of the book's weakest sections is where Cahill tries to provide scientific evidence to support the Bible (p65-69). He uses Biblical quotes to show that the Bible points out scientific facts that were discovered hundreds or thousands of years later. While the quoted verses could indeed be interpreted the way Cahill intends, they can easily be interpreted without the scientific bent that Cahill claims. For example, Isaiah 40:22 ("It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth...", p67) could be interpreted to mean the earth is round; however, the "circle of the earth" could also mean the bowl-shaped horizon (from an earthly viewpoint). Similarly, Job 38:35 could refer to radio waves, but it could simply point out Job's inability to know where lightening strikes (or goes). The same goes for all the Biblical quotes in this section.
Another of the book's shortcomings is a lack of sufficient references. Several quotes are credited within the text, but many of Cahill's statements are unattributed. Cahill is obviously a smart man, but experts in the applicable fields of study should be referenced. For example, in the debunking of missing links (p38-40), there should be references to works proving each link was a fake. Another example: where do Tacitus and Josephus specifically "support the historical accuracy of the Bible" (p64)?
One final critique of the book actually has nothing to do with the text, but with the physical book. The binding on my book came completely apart. The cover fell off and some pages simply fell out, even though I treated the book gently. This shouldn't happen after only one reading of the book.
Regardless of the above criticisms, I would highly recommend this book for Christian's who wish to share their faith. This would be an excellent gift to a non-Christian, because Cahill logically and deftly leads the reader through the questions a non-believer may have about God.