Are You The Last Operative? – Reasons NOT to Follow Jesus (part 6)

Danger. Espionage. Intrigue. Betrayal. Vital messages. Warfare.

In a world gone mad, the fate of many rests with one man

Or maybe one woman

And that ONE could be you.

Too much pressure? Too much responsibility? Then don’t decide to follow Jesus because that’s what comes with the territory.

What am I talking about?

Well, a couple of things. First, I won a contest last week. Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the Left Behind series, has written a new book – actually, rewritten his first stand-alone novel The Last Operative. Mr. Jenkins solicited ideas from blog followers about ways they would promote his book (if they liked it) and I was in the top 15 so I won an advanced copy of his novel and $100 (full disclosure). Sweet deal.

The very fact that he was having this contest made me think again about a theme God continues to impress upon me – does God want to be mass-marketed or does He favor grass-roots operatives?

Mr. Jenkins is one of the best known, most widely -read Christian authors of our day. Promoting his books should be as simple as placing them on the shelf at Wal-Mart. In many areas of the country, he’s a one name author – as in “Have you read Jerry’s latest novel?” or “Jerry’s new book comes out next week.” Once I sat next to a man on a plane who referred to having worked for both “Billy” (as in Graham) and “Jerry” (as in Jenkins). Mr. Jenkins is read around the globe so does he really need his books promoted by some minor mom blogger in Rhode Island?

You’d be surprised.

Mention Mr. Jenkins’ name to even well-read people in New England and the response will be “Jerry who?” Sometimes if you reference the Left Behind series you’ll spark some recognition but still, most often what you hear is “never heard of him.” If you’re reading this post from somewhere in the Bible belt, I know this is hard to believe but trust me, it’s true.

I can change that. You see, booksellers will tell you that all the billboards and reviews cannot top solid word-of-mouth advertising for selling books. That’s how books come out of nowhere and land on the best-seller list – word of mouth, person- to- person, one reader telling another reader – “Hey, you should read this book.”

So, back to mass-marketing God (or not). In an earlier post, I speculated that God sent His Son to earth during a time before satellite communication, television and Iphones to make a point to us about how He wants us to spread the news of salvation.

God is very grass roots.

Like Seth Godin, He believes in tribes. He loves mom-and-pop operations. When it comes to promoting the biggest news in the universe, God puts all of His money into us – His ragtag, bumbling, cotton-mouthed followers – because He believes in word-of-mouth, person-to-person, one sinner telling another sinner “Hey, you should read this Book.”

In The Last Operative, (which you should definitely read, especially if you like spy thrillers), Jordan Kirkwood is the only man who knows the secret of a threat that could spell the death of countless Americans and the American way of freedom and democracy. He must fight, not only against outer forces, but against his own inner demons to bring this secret to light. That leads to my second thought brought about by this contest and this book:

The truth I find both thrilling and terrifying is this – we may each be the last operative in someone else’s life.

Those of us who know the truth of Jesus Christ, who know that He is the door to eternal life and that without Him, a person is condemned to eternal death, those of us who know that carry with us daily an explosive message. AND God brings across our path the very people He knows will die unless they hear that message. AND for some of them, we are the final messenger, the last operative they will encounter before it’s too late.

They aren’t billboard readers. They don’t listen to Billy Graham on TV. They don’t ever enter a church. They don’t read Bibles or Christian living books or listen to Christian radio. No one else in their world gives any thought to Jesus. T-shirts don’t influence them and they laugh at bumper stickers BUT they live next door to you, or work in the next cubicle, or attend your book club or wait next to you in line.

You are the last operative assigned to them. And like Jordan Kirkwood, you have to fight external forces and internal demons to get the message of Jesus Christ out into the open so they have an opportunity to hear the truth. Sometimes, to comfort yourself when you remain silent, you tell yourself there are plenty of other players on the team but the truth is that for some people


You are the last operative in their world. You are the only messenger left for them. You are their last chance to hear the truth.

Can you handle that truth?

You can’t imagine that they haven’t heard it yet but I live in a state where most people haven’t heard of Jerry B. Jenkins and he’s had 20 books on the New York Times best seller list, his novels have sold over 65 million copies since 1995 and he’s been on the cover of Newsweek.

God is all about grass-roots operatives. He trusted the gospel to a handful of fishermen, tax collectors and reformed prostitutes and the word spread with power like wild, holy fire. Technology has progressed but the human heart still responds best to another human heart, a flesh- and- blood, eye-to-eye encounter with a breathing human.

You don’t need to be Billy Graham. You don’t need to be Jerry B. Jenkins. You DO need to be who you are in Christ and not hide it from those around you.

You may be the last operative in their lives.

If you’re not willing to be that, maybe you should turn back now. It’s not going to get any easier. Check out what’s happening to evangelists in Dearborn, Michigan if you don’t believe me.

If you’re up for the espionage of infiltrating the enemy lines in the heart of the human next door or downstairs or across the table, keep following.

If you’re tongue-tied, get Jerry’s new book, The Last Operative. (I believe Christian fiction – a well-told story told from a Biblical worldview – can open hearts, doors, and conversations. I believe that’s why Mr. Jenkins wants his book promoted (not to help his bank account or his ego)and that’s why I’ve agreed to promote it.)

Read it and then share it with someone you love. Then, talk about it with them. Be the last operative in their life. Don’t fail in your mission.

Don’t worry and don’t be afraid. The same power that fueled those fishermen, fuels you, too. That’s our secret weapon. You are God’s last operative where you are and you have everything you need to accomplish your mission should you choose to accept it.

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    The Conversation

  1. I love this series you’re doing, Lori. So often we soft-sell the gospel, creating more fallen soldiers than anything else.

    I’ll have to check this book out. Jerry and I disagree on some tribulation-related issues and I haven’t been interested in his “Left Behind” series.

    Thank you for the review. Grassroots live on!

  2. Anyone who is writing a novel should read this, Shannon. He knows how to build tension and keep a person reading. He’s also tried an experiment (read the Author’s Note) with dialog – not tagging it. Worth reading and studying.

  3. I’m wrestling with the marketing/ministry thing–blog counters, shameless promotion–versus joy of writing and being who I am. Bad news if Jerry Jenkins has to hustle. Good news–its easier to be who you are: You might as well be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde Love you, lady

  4. I don’t think that Mr. Jenkins needs to hustle in order to serve his book sales. I don’t know him personally but I can only imagine that he’s not worried about paying his bills or setting Amazon records. I guess I’m new enough to it all to believe that those of us who write Christian fiction are Christians first – we are all about telling a great story but we want those stories to be in the service of a great God to further His kingdom on earth. Rhode Islanders don’t need to know Mr. Jenkins, they need to know Christ (and I believe Mr. Jenkins would agree to that).

    The only thing I’m truly interested in promoting is that truth. But I also believe that Christian fiction can assist us in communicating that truth and when we come across a great story it’s easy to share that with other readers. It should be just as easy to share our own story of relationship with Jesus but most of us need help doing that. Christian fiction can encourage and strengthen our hearts and open the hearts of some who are closed – as the Spirit gives power to do so.

    I understand how you feel about “shameless promotion”. Too much ministry has been lost by trying to appeal to the masses. That’s sort of the point of my post.

    I think that’s why most us won’t be called to reach “the masses” – because it’s such a trap. Mostly I believe it’s God’s plan for us to work the way the Israelites were called to rebuild the wall in the days of Nehemiah – work on and defend the part of the wall in front of where we reside.

    I think it’s possible to lose sight of Christ no matter what we do but I also believe it must be possible to write for Christ, to be who we are and still function in the “business” of writing without becoming “shameless promoters.” There are some good models for that out there.

  5. Andrea says:

    I wanted to stop by and thank you for all your prayers, encouragement, and support.

    This post is very timely…things have been crazy here for a few weeks…I have been clinging tightly and trying desperately NOT to lose sight of GOD and HIS will in and through it all.


  6. Praise God, Andrea! I will continue to pray. I know life can be an incredible struggle. Press in to God.

  7. Nancy says:

    You hit me where it’s at for me right now.

  8. Cheri says:

    Can’t wait to read his book! I just finished reading a book, so it’s time for a new one, too!

    Also… your post was so encouraging. God uses mom and pop operations, He uses the little people. Awesome. Because that’s what I am… someone that most people will never hear of. But if I am there for the one person He has me there for, He will be pleased with the work I’ve committed my life to do.