Ed: When you write about being marked by God for more, what kind of more are we talking about here?
Pastor Choco: The more that I'm talking about is not materialism. The more I'm talking about is what the Bible says in Corinthians that eyes have not seen, ear have not heard, and mind cannot conceive what God has in store for you. As a young man of 14 years old who had just come to Christ, it was prophesied over me that God was going to take me into larger places and I was going to be a leader of influence.
At every level of growth throughout the years, I saw new challenges. Years later, things came to fruition of what was prophesied over my life. The more that I'm talking about is that with God there are no limits. He has no ceiling for you regardless of how old you are. God has something more in your ministry, whether you are a pastor, a leader, or something else. He's got something more for you.
Ed: It seems that sometimes we settle for less. Why is it part of our nature to do that?
Pastor Choco: I think we settle for less because there is a challenge that comes with seeking more. When there's more that you want from the Lord, you've got to show up. You've got to be able to be present. So we settle for less, for a lesser land, when God has given us the promised land because we don't want to pay that sacrifice. We don't want to go the extra mile. We don't want to be able to get our hands dirty if you will. I think that's why, as a culture, we've just settled. We've become complacent of where we're at and God is saying, "I have so much more for you if you're just willing to walk another block." I think that's one of the reasons why we don't experience the more of God.
Ed: Talk about some of the deterrents. What are some things that keep us from getting to the more God has for us?
Pastor Choco: The number one thing would be ourselves, just our mentality. Number two for me would be laziness—that is, a spiritual slothfulness in our culture. We have this spirit of entitlement. We’ve got to get out of dependency on the government and instead become interdependent and able to rely upon the Lord.
Ed: You are serving in one of the most economically depressed regions in Chicago. Your something more message may seem odd for a place that has a lot less. How does this more relate to where you are? Is this something that was birthed out of your ministry and your community?
Pastor Choco: We believe that less is more. We have an offering in our church that is called the more offering that is above the tithings and we challenge people to give more towards missions, development, and capital to expand the kingdom of God. We cannot allow the budget of our lives to dictate our faith. We've got to depend on the Lord, regardless of if we only make $30,000 a year or half a million. God still expects that we live with that same expectation.
The Bible tells us in Genesis 8 that the laws of God don't change. The seasons don't change. The time doesn't change. Even the season of harvest and sowing. So we've got a lot of broken reapers out there. People are reaping less because they sow less. I want to encourage our people in Humboldt Park and the poor places to sow and watch what God can do when you're faithful in the small things.
Ed: I think the Bible does teach that when we give, we have the opportunity to be blessed as well. So sowing can be giving, but what other ways is there to sow so that we can expect more?
Pastor Choco: Sowing can be about money or time or words that we give. Everything doesn't have to relate to money. Once you live in that life of sowing, you're experiencing the abundance of God. I'm talking about the joy of serving other people and having things because God is going to be faithful to his word. If you give, God will bless you. I don't mean financially; instead, I'm talking about God blessing you with strength and health. He's only going to bless those who are a blessing to other people in my opinion. So if you want to experience the more of God, I challenge you to step out. Step out into the more, and watch what God can do.
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.