Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NaBloPoMo Special Feature - Heroes

If I asked you to name a well known Christian author, who would it be?

The author I am thinking of is a man who has written more than 175 books and assisted Billy Graham in writing his memoirs, Just As I Am. He owns a filmmaking company and a guild for Christian writers, and he also wrote the nationally syndicated sports story comic strip, Gil Thorp from 1996-2004.

As if all that isn't enough, he collaborated with another popular Christian author and speaker on a sixteen-book Christian fiction series that has sold 70,000,000 copies.

Who is this literary hero?

Dr. Jerry Jenkins.

I might never have heard of the name Jerry Jenkins had it not been for my family being so enthralled with a new Christian fiction series that told of a world in chaos when family, friends, and loved ones suddenly disappear. Pilot Rayford Steele loses a son and a wife in the Rapture as believers are taken up and the rest are Left Behind.

This fictional series uses the Book of Revelation to depict what happens in the End Times for Rayford Steele, Buck Williams, Bruce Barnes, and many others.

The Book of Revelation has long been a favorite of mine, but the symbolism can sometimes be hard to understand. The Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation as an elderly man while he was a prisoner of Rome. In the Bible, John is referred to as "the disciple who Jesus loved", and it is into John's care that Jesus placed his beloved mother Mary right before His death. John's love for Jesus was so strong that he defied the Roman magistrate's order to no longer proclaim Jesus as Messiah, Savior and Lord; even while a prisoner.

It is, therefore, fitting that John should be the one to receive this vision of the End Times. The opening line of Revelation says, "1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,2who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.3Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." (NIV)

On the Left Behind website, one can read the mission for this series: "This fictional account of life after the Rapture delivers an urgent call to today's readers to prepare their own hearts and minister to others."

In addition to the Left Behind series, Jenkins and Tim LaHaye collaborated on The Jesus Chronicles, a four-book series that focuses on the writers of the Gospels. So far, Mark's, Luke's and John's stories have been released. Matthew's story is yet to be released.

Jenkins has also written numerous non-fiction titles and many books on marriage and family. He is also the author of several children's series. It seems that there is no stopping him.

Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life was released in 2006. I own this book and often refer to it.

If you go to Jenkins's website, you'll be able to read chapters 1 and 2 of Riven, the book he says he always wanted to write.

For his unlimited talent, for all that he does to mentor aspiring authors of all ages, and for the inspiration that his long career provides others, Dr. Jerry Jenkins is our next featured literary hero.

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