I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:1114 NIV
THOSE VERSES have been a theme of my life and ministry. At the end of my sophomore year of college, I became pastor of a country church near the FloridaAlabama state line. I was bivocational, doing construction work along with pastoral ministries. Within a few months of trying to balance it all, I became discouraged, disillusioned, and ready to quit the ministry. I lived near Enterprise, Alabama, home of The Monument to the Boll Weevil. Cotton was the major crop that made the farmers wealthy; but an infestation of boll weevils destroyed cotton crops. Someone introduced the farmers to peanuts, which they substituted for cotton. Boll weevils dont like peanuts, so they left them alone, and the farmers made more money off peanuts than they ever had off cotton. As a result, city leaders erected a giant boll weevil
statue: In profound appreciation of the Boll Weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama. The county was catapulted into unprecedented wealth and hope be-cause of a destructive insect.
Not far from that monument to a boll weevil, I knelt by the couch and began to pray, God, Im tired of playing ministry games, playing church, playing Christian. I declare before you that I want to get in all the way or get out. Im at the end of myself; at the end of sloppy ministry and sloppy living. I want you to be Lord of my life, my ministry, all of me.” In those moments of personal surrender to my Lord, I sensed the extreme love of God warming my heart, and I knew that my life would never be the same. It was the be-ginning of an unbelievable lifetime of minis-try.
O God, I want to live saying, Yes, Lord! Keep me there, I pray in your awesome name! Keep my heart warmed with your extreme love and share it through me with those I love and lead. Amen.
-Sam Bruce, President, Bruce Ministries, Florence, Mississippi