The Dark Side of Success

In Luke 12, there was a certain rich man whose ground yielded plentifully. This man could be any person – a stockbroker whose portfolio of stocks had risen greatly in value; a real estate owner whose property assets had dramatically improved; or even a businessman who had just gotten the deal of the century. Or, he could just be a senior pastor who’s seen increase year upon year and all it’s been is hunky dory. Whoever he is, he’s someone who’s struck gold and has now more than he can accommodate. So, he has a logistical problem. He doesn’t have enough space to store his increase.

There’s this internal chatter. He asks himself a question, ‘What shall I do since I’ve no room to store my crops or increase?’ In his mind, he replies to his own question and says, ‘I’ll do this. I’ll pull down my barns and build greater barns. And the whole motivation is – my retirement is secured. I can enjoy life for the rest of my days eating, drinking, and partying. But God says to him, “FOOL! Tonight, you die.” Verse 21 is the lesson – “So is the man who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich or generous towards God.”
 
I call this the ‘Bigger Barn’ mentality and it’s in many of us today, including successful pastors. God has blessed us and we now run 19 services over the weekend. Over the last 24 years, our attendance has increased year upon year without abating. So have our finances – we’ve never seen one year of contraction.

We now have Cornerstone bases in 23 nations. We own the iconic Bible College of Wales and the famed Pisgah Chapel. We organise a successful Kingdom Invasion Conference each year and our staff count is expanding pretty rapidly, and everything is hunky dory. But, there’s a tension in my heart and it has to do with this ‘Bigger Barn’ mentality and I want to make sure that, if we enlarge our tents, it’s because God is telling us to do it, not because we want bigger barns.

I want God to purge me from this relentless, unrestrained pursuit of success because, if we’re not careful, it can lure us into a false mindset that says, ‘I can do anything.’ When Paul said, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”, he wasn’t trying to say he was a superman. He knew his limitations. What Paul was saying was everything the Lord commissioned him to do, he could because Christ strengthens him.
 
The more successful you are, the more opportunities will open up for you and the more you’ll pursue. Organisations want you to sit on their boards. Conference organisers want you to speak for them. You get invited to important official functions, and it can all be very intoxicating. Author Jim Collins says that this mindset leads you down a path called the ‘Undisciplined pursuit of MORE’. Our success lures us into pursuing more ventures, more projects, more opportunities and more of whatever you see as success, and we actually start to believe that we’re like King Midas, that whatever we touch turns to gold. We begin to lose sight of what true value is.
 
It happened to King Solomon – everything he touched turned to gold. He had acquired so much wealth in his day that silver was piling up on the streets because it was considered of no value. Solomon had everything a man could want – all the wealth in the world, 700 wives to boot, a harem of 300 concubines, and wisdom the likes of which the world had never ever seen.

What do you do with all this wealth? Solomon had the same internal chatter as the rich man. He said, “I’m going to test this”. So, he indulged and experimented in pleasure, comedy, alcohol, architecturally astounding buildings, vineyards, gardens, servants – everything a man could ever want. But, at the end of the day, he had this terrible foreboding and sense of emptiness. And he couldn’t put his finger on why he wasn’t fulfilled. Satisfaction continued to elude him. He was the smartest man who did the dumbest thing. The old axiom remains true – if you chase two rabbits, both will escape. Solomon was trying to chase at least eight. He was intoxicated and deceived by pleasure, wine, and women and ended up a serial idolater.

In Italy, there’s a painting of Solomon, which shows him coming up before the Throne of God at the Resurrection. On the right of the Throne are those who are saved and, on the left are those who are damned. As Solomon approaches the Throne, there’s a puzzled expression on his face. He’s not sure if he belongs to the left or the right. Sad end for such an illustrious king.

The question we need to ask is Why? Where did they go wrong? What happened in their lives that made them turn around? Understand that this is a process – people don’t just get stupid overnight. You don’t get someone who’s following the Lord with all his heart in one season and, all of a sudden, end up worshipping false gods in another. It just doesn’t happen like that. There was a decaying process that took place, a slow dying, and we need to find out where and why that decay actually begins. They didn’t deal with the little foxes that spoiled the vine, and that little problem eventually became a stronghold of the enemy and a snare in their lives. May the Lord deliver us from this ‘Bigger Barn’ mentality.


Ps. Yang Tuck Yoong

Move with Lions!

Will this year be an exceptional one of unusual testimonies and exploits? It’s been said that your destiny is not fulfilled until you hold in your hands your own little book. God is showing us our own book and, when we turn the leaves of these pages, I pray for faith to leap in us to believe.

I’ll soon be 59 years old and, like my husband, we’re both inching towards the big 6-0. I’m a good 20 years into the second half of my life if, by reason of strength, I live to 80 years. God is leading me to the finishing line, so there’s an urgency for me to live wisely and well as there are fewer days in front of me than behind. How I live from this time will shape eternity more than ever. The fact read more…

Move With Lions!

Will this year be an exceptional one of unusual testimonies and exploits? It’s been said that your destiny is not fulfilled until you hold in your hands your own little book. God is showing us our own book and, when we turn the leaves of these pages, I pray for read more…

We’re Stewards, And Not Owners

The idea of stewardship is found throughout the Scriptures. In fact, an important foundation that needs to be laid in all our lives is a realisation that we’re all stewards in this life. The one thing that causes us to fail to understand this is when we think we’re owners instead of stewards.

This is easily evident in the way we speak and how we make decisions. When our conversations are filled with ‘mine’ and ‘I’, in all likelihood, we’re no longer thinking as stewards. In the same manner, do we pray and ask God about the decisions we’ve to make, recognising that our lives belong to Him?
 
Interestingly, Jesus spoke about stewardship extensively. In the many instances when He spoke on this subject, they were directed towards the Pharisees – the religious leaders of His days. read more…

Putting a Smile on The Father’s Face

Last November, after speaking at our weekend service for the second time, I asked the Lord what He thought of the message. His reply astounded me – what pleased Him most was not so much the message itself, but what happened the night before the service – the diligence in working through the message and the posture of desperation for His Presence in the service.

And the Holy Spirit said these three words to me that forever marked and changed my life – “Remember this day!” I immediately knew what He was referring to. It was a loving warning from my Confidant to keep this posture in my heart for the rest of my life, so that I’ll not be complacent when it comes to the things of God as I get more fluent in what I do, be it read more…

Strengthen Your Stakes

Long ago, ancient Hebrews constructed tents made of black goat hair, which was spun into strands and woven together, forming panels measuring some 2 feet wide and covering the length of the tent. This took about a year to complete and was primarily the ancient method of tent-making.

Isaiah 54:2 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.” When I think of this verse, I think of us expanding our potential, capabilities, and seeing an increase in the church. The intent of God has never changed but if this growth is going to continue, the church must be willing to be stretched beyond her comfort zone.

I believe God wants us to grow in our triune being today, by enlarging our capacity for others read more…

Musings of An Almost Senior Citizen

Age changes your perception of life. When I was 20, I was very concerned over what people thought about me. At 40, I didn’t care what people thought about me. Now at almost 60, I realised no one was thinking about me.

In just 11 months, I will reach my big 6-0. I’m not sure how I feel. In a way, I’m excited about the new possibilities, yet I’m also feeling a sense of trepidation. One of the things that’s been in my thoughts lately is the issue of life after death. Soon, I’ll breathe my last breath and slip away into eternity, which simply means everything I do now ought to prepare me for that moment.

I find myself reading a lot about books on heaven. I’ve just finished reading Dr. DGS Dhinakaran’s classic book, ‘An Insight Into Heaven’ read more…

An Open Door

2019 will be an exceptional year and it’s going to excel against the previous years! Entering a new year can bring with it many new things, it can refresh old things giving them a different perspective. Learning to view a glass as half-full rather than half-empty, re-defining problems as opportunities, and wearing new lenses to view more options as viable might be the new perspective that works this year. Perspective is the way one looks at something, it’s also an art technique that changes the distance or depth of an object on paper.

2018 is past but re-capturing encounters where God apprehended us are so very important. These encounters are keys God has given to unlock doors, doors which were once closed and now opened. I hear the Spirit say, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the read more…

Time to Discard

It’s a new year and the most common thing that people do is to make new year resolutions. We may not call it that but we all make decisions that amount to resolutions. Pray more, be more consistent with our quiet time, spend more time with family, exercise more, and the list goes on.
 
The point to consider though, is that it’s a lot easier to eat junk food than to exercise off the extra calories we put on. It’s easier to put something off and delay doing it than to be prompt and decisive. Perhaps it’s also easier for us to decide what we’re NOT going to do this year, instead of adding more to the list of things to do. Perhaps the thing that will really change our lives this year is to decide that read more…

It’s Time To Leave Your Shadow Behind

If I were to tell you that Jesus had been verbally bullied and labelled by people who knew Him, would you believe me? Mark 6:2-3 records for us that Jesus was called names and scoffed at – “He’s just a carpenter, where did He get all this wisdom and power to perform such miracles?”, “Isn’t this Mary’s boy?”, “We knew His brothers and sisters, and saw all of them grow up, how can He suddenly become better than us?”

Jesus was rejected in His hometown, Nazareth, and amongst His own people. Their unbelief in Him was so severe that it was recorded that “He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” (Mark 6:5) Since that time, we’ve no record of Jesus ever returning to Nazareth again and Capernaum read more…

Crossing Over

Excitement is high as we approach Christmas and the New Year. ‘A new beginning or a new season’ – this is a statement often heard at the crossing over into a new year. I’m thoroughly convinced that we’re not only crossing over into a new season, but we’re moving into the fullness of it. We’re not just waiting and praying for a prophecy, but entering into the fulfilment of God’s promises. 
 
Much has been said lately about the church moving into a new season. ‘Crossing over’ is a phrase often used to describe this change. In one of Chuck Pierce’s teachings, he mentioned that a crossing over time has three phases linked with transition: Death, Confusion, and New.  

There’s a word in the Old Covenant that embodies this concept. Gen 14:13 uses the phrase, ‘Abram, the Hebrew.’ The word for ‘Hebrew’ originated from the word ‘Abar’, meaning ‘to cross over’ or ‘pass over’. read more…

Friendships

If there was a lesson I had to learn this year, it’s that life is about relationships. If we fail in our relationships, then, in essence, we fail in life. Relating to others is one of the most important things to learn and it’s a key to success in life.
 
If you think about it, the Bible is basically a record of men and women who walked with God and one another. The Garden of Eden was created as a meeting place between God and the man He had made in His own image. The Lord God would come in the cool of the evening to commune with Adam and there was unbroken fellowship and uninterrupted communion between them.

It was for this purpose that man was created. But when sin inhabited the human race, the first read more…

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