I was 12 years old when Darrell Sovine preached a series of revival sermons at my home church in Johnson City, Tennessee–old enough to realize that I was about to step into adulthood, “with all the rights and privileges appurtenant thereto.” On the last night, he brought us a sermon from Revelation 21, which instilled within me a sense of urgency.

Urgency because that book portrays a time when time will be no more. For all human beings, even a kid like me, there was a finite amount of time to accomplish what God placed us on this earth to do. So when Brother Sovine gave an invitation to come forward and pray, I responded and committed myself to a life of ministry.

More than 50 years have passed since that night. A lot of sand has poured through the hourglass of my life, and I don’t know how much remains. But I still have that sense of urgency, pressing me to introduce people to Jesus Christ before I reach life’s final deadline.

As a writer, I live by deadlines because they “powerfully concentrate the mind” (to borrow a phrase from Ben Johnson). And as a Christian writer, I live in the awareness my time on earth is running out, so I want to make each day count for God’s Kingdom.

To the keyboard! I have a deadline to meet.