It was the day after Easter, April 1, within forty-eight hours; I went from crazy sorority party girl to a passionate Jesus follower. I did not know what to do or where to start but I recommitted my life to Christ at the end of my spring break vacation and was headed back to the University of Oregon, to a life I had just died to, and I knew there was no way I could live the life God was calling me to without Him. He knew that too, which is why He sent me Becky.
I was leaving for the airport and Becky showed up at my door. Becky Tirabassi is an author, speaker, and family friend. I was introduced to Becky through my family who is planting a church with she and her husband. Easter Sunday, she delivered a speech that I will never forget; she talked about emptiness, addiction, drunken mistakes, and her answer to all of her brokenness. It could have been she and I alone in that amphitheater; it was as if she knew my life story. I had just returned from a Palm Springs trip that was only an extension of the life I lived in Oregon. The trip brought to light the lies I was living. College for me was no longer something I did in secret, now I was picking and planning trips centered around binge-drinking, flirting, and pot smoking instead of the family time I used to covet. I was overwhelmed with conviction and pain. I recommitted my life to Christ the Saturday morning before Easter on a run after I was sick with the shame, the guilt I felt, and the life I was missing out on that I saw in my family.
This was all so exciting and great, BUT, I still had to return to Oregon, I knew nothing was going to be the same, I did not think I would be able to fight the temptation to return to my old ways. That morning I was on my way to the airport, Becky responded to God’s call. He knew I could not fight this battle alone, so He gave me Becky and a book she wrote called, The Burning Heart Contract.
My conversation with Becky was brief and I had no idea that the book she had just given me held the answer to my prayers and concerns. She told me to read the introduction and Day 1 on the plane. She handed me a daily Bible and said this was a great resource to hear God everyday. I was so broken and helpless, I was willing to read or do anything it would take to live the life I knew would bring me joy, and God glory.
On the plane, it was God, the salted peanuts, and I up in the heavens. The introduction began with this idea of being a Christian on fire for God. Making a commitment to prayer, purity, and purpose. I was captivated by the idea of being sold out, set apart, and sent out. I do not want to be a boring Christian, I want people to be drawn to the gospel and excited to live this life.
The Burning Heart Contract is a book based on the original Burning Hearts Fellowship of 1947. It is a passionate call to prayer for one an hour a day, to purity through a discipline in body and mind, and purpose in sharing your faith. It is a call to the principles of Christian discipleship.
The book is 21 days of short reading filled with verses and quotes spoken by Andrew Murray, Charles Spurgeon, and many other warriors of faith. The readings are broken up into three parts, the first seven days, days one through seven, focus on prayer, the power behind it, and an outline on how to spend an hour in prayer.
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
Days seven through fourteen explain what purity is and the importance behind a leader with integrity and the vital component of purity in a leader.
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
The last seven days are all about purpose. The book reminds us that we are amabassadors of the King. It is a responsibility of Christians to teach others about God.
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
I made a commitment to surrender to the 21-Day Challenge. I knew it was going take a contract to keep me accountable to reading my Bible and praying. My contract consisted of an hour a day of prayer and Bible reading, purity from sexual immorality and alcohol, and sharing my faith. Since April 1st, I have stuck to this contract.
One day in advance, I plan my appointment with the King. I can take an hour to do just about anything else, watch my favorite TV shows, check all of my social media accounts, go to my favorite work out class, or get my nails done… which of those appointment is more important than my time alone with the one who created me? I believe that God knows how my day will unfold; the best investment I can make is time alone with Him so he can prepare me for what lies ahead. It is my hour of power.
My hour of power is where God fills my heart with the courage I need to fulfill the Great Commission, and gives me the desire to live purely in all aspects of my life. So many people talk about getting deeper with Christ, growing in a relationship with Him, but how do we do that if we don’t spend anytime with Him?
Prayer is how we communicate with God, and the 21-Day Adventure is designed around prayer, because that is where God ignites our hearts. The book was the start of my new life and shaped my relationship with God. Everyday, in my hour of power, my appointment with the King, I get to sit down and get to know my Creator. I love the person He is and the love He has for me. I can trust my life in His hands because He reveals His glory to me everyday. Some days an hour just simply is not enough time; I am hungry and eager for more.
The 21-Day Challenge has turned into a life adventure. My life is in the hands of God. This summer, I was to return to the University of Oregon. I was praying relentlessly for God to reveal His will in my education. I did not want to go back to Oregon to study Business Administration, I wanted more of God, and I wanted everything to be for His glory.
If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:2
This verse has become the theme to my life. I want to be used by God, and ready at all times. I keep myself pure through my hour. I desire nothing short of being at God’s ready to be used by Him.
I interned for Becky in the summer of 2013, after returning from Oregon more on fire than ever. We led about one hundred and fifty others through the 21-Day Adventure. Igniting hearts to be a leader for Christ. God was changing my heart and desires in every hour I spent with Him. I no longer had any temptation or desire to go back to my old ways, instead bring the people in my old life to the place I am now. All I want to do is share with others the answer I knew they are, and I was desperate to hear.
A family hired me to be a nanny on their trip to Nashville. I was dragging my feet the whole time; I did not want to go. The only reason I went was because I would be able to see my sister who is a student at Belmont University. I was praying with her about my education and sharing my heart with her about some of the things I was wrestling with, and she, like any other concerned big sister, took the initiative to drop me off at the admissions office at Belmont. I spoke to an adviser about studying Christian Leadership. He told me to fill out the paper application seeing that I was weeks past the online application deadline, and email him an essay.
I knew I would not be accepted unless God wanted me there. I also knew I could not go back to the University of Oregon and live a life saturated in God’s teaching and love. I met Mackenzie that night, and was so inspired by the work she was able to do with Delight and all that Belmont was teaching her about ministry, all I wanted was to be surrounded by people like her, people who act on faith. On the flight home, I withdrew from the University of Oregon; it was thrilling being a college drop out. I was right where God wanted me, I was not afraid of being accepted to Belmont. Hour after hour spent with Him just makes me want to live more and more radically.
Three weeks later, I was thanking Him in my prayer notebook for the opportunity to study at Belmont. I was accepted, and on my way back to start this new life. My desire was to bring people to Christ and I was on my way to an education centered on the same passion, what a blessing!
That commitment to prayer I made in April has taken me on more adventures than anything else in my life. It started with The Burning Heart Contract. It did not end after twenty-one days; the end of the book gives you the opportunity to write a contract that you will commit to. I promise you, if you spend twenty-one days, consecutively hearing God’s voice, you will not go the twenty-second day without hearing His voice.