Tests of Success

When the LORD your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you… then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Deut 6:10-12

This is a marvellous promise of the blessing of God to the Children of Israel. Now here’s the surprise. Moses reminded the people by stating the following, “When this happens… Be careful that you do not forget the Lord” (6:12). To forget the Lord doesn’t mean to forget that He exists. It simply means that you no longer have Him in mind as in times past.

The message to us is clear. Say for example you’re blessed with a new or upgraded home; does God come to mind? Is the Lord honoured when a promotion or raise in your salary comes your way? These good gifts are to be welcomed and celebrated, but be careful, because every blessing of God carries within it the subtle test of success. 

Derek Prince believes that the hardest test we’re likely to face – and the one we’re least likely to pass – is the “Test of Success”. Jose Navajo put it this way in his book, “Mondays with My Old Pastor”: “Something even more difficult than overcoming failure, is overcoming success.”

1. The Pride Test

“Then your heart will become proud…” (Deut 8:14)

If you forget the Lord, His blessing will lead you to pride. The time of your greatest spiritual danger may not be when you’re sick, but when you’re well. You’re more likely to forget the Lord. You’ll pray when you’re sick. The time of your greatest testing may not be when you lose a job, but when you find one. You’re more likely to grow cold in your walk with the Lord, not when the stock-market goes down, but when it goes up. Moses says, “When these good things happen to you, be very careful!” “Watch out! See the danger, because success carries with it the subtle temptation of spiritual pride” – Colin Smith

Carl F. H. Henry, the founder of Fuller Theological Seminary, was a prolific author and a man of extraordinary scholarship. He was also the first editor of Christianity Today. Don Carson conducted an interview with him and asked the following question, “Having achieved all this in your life, how do you stop it going to your head?”  His response? “How can a man possibly be proud when he’s standing beside a cross?” 

There are ultimately only two kinds of people; those who are standing on their own achievements and those who are standing beside the cross. What about you? Forgetting the Lord and His blessings will lead to a life of pride; but how can anyone be proud if he or she is standing beside a cross?

2. The Prosperity Test
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deut 8:18

God has prospered Singapore as a nation. We enjoy the blessings of God in ways our parents never knew. We must remember that it’s the Lord who gives power to obtain wealth.

I believe God wants to prosper His people, however, there’s a warning of a false gospel that lures people away from “true riches”. It’s a gospel of deceit that places an emphasis on being rich. Such a pursuit brings “people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim 6:9). This is seen in the Church of Laodicea which characterises the last day church. This church saw themselves as rich and in need of nothing (Rev 3:16-17).

C. S. Lewis put it like this: “Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he’s finding his place in it, while really it’s finding its place in him.” Singapore is called to model generosity; being blessed to be a blessing. Generosity is a vital key in passing the prosperity test. Robert Morris has an interesting teaching concerning the taking of a “Prosperity Test” each time we receive a pay check. He remarks that we live in a cursed world and until one tithes, the finances remain under a curse. God wants to redeem us from the curse.

3. The Popularity Test
This past week, Cornerstone conducted its Annual Leaders’ Summit. It was a time of refreshing and rejoicing for all that God had done. There’s been a continual growth in church attendance, finance and worldwide church plants. Pastor Yang reminded the 300 gathered leaders of the importance of guarding one’s private devotion time with the Lord. He further added that it’s easy to confuse success with victory. Success is a term from the business world as opposed to victory which denotes combat. The church is not involved in a business, but rather, a war for the purpose of establishing God’s Kingdom on earth.

We must never let the world entice us into accepting its standard of success. The desire for popularity is always dangerous. Christ was never obsessed with drawing crowds or having “likes” as seen in today’s social media. His message was the cross. Many were offended and turned away. It did not measure up to their definition of success (John 6:60). There were a handful who saw this message as the words of eternal life; the cross was the greatest victory that anyone has ever achieved. By taking up the cross, they passed the tests of success. What about us?


Pastor Timothy Chong

When Your Work Becomes Worship

I’ve been asked on several occasions this question, “How do you juggle between work and ministry, the secular and spiritual?” Well, I see work as an extension of ministry. They’re not competing for my time, but complementing. The key is that I don’t make a distinction between work and ministry because of the understanding of this one word, “Avodah”.

“Avodah” is a Hebrew word used in the Bible whose root has three distinct yet intertwined meanings – worship, work and service. For example, in Exodus 8:1, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Let my people go, so that they may worship (avodah) Me’.” In Exodus 34:21, “Six days you shall work (avodah), but on the seventh day you shall rest…” In Joshua 24:15, “But as for me and my household, we will serve (avodah) the Lord.” What Joshua meant was read more…

The Truth About Salt & Light

I believe there are some essential descriptions of Christians given by our Lord Jesus Christ that’s crucial for us in deciphering how we’re to respond in an ever-changing world. I’m certain that the Lord foresaw the days of every generation right up to the days of His Second Coming, and gave us keys to understanding how we’re to thrive in it.

Two of those descriptions given to His followers are that we’re the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt 5). These are two very interesting descriptions, because each functions quite differently. On one hand, salt functions by quiet influence. When added as a seasoning, only a small quantity is required. It buries itself in the dish that it’s being used to season, but its impact on the flavour of the dish is immense.

On the read more…

The Grace of Yielding

Last weekend, we wrapped up an exciting Cell Month campaign for the month of July. Here are some follow-up thoughts in line with the theme of Discipleship, taken from Derek Prince’s book entitled, “The Grace of Yielding.” We’re often taught concerning the price of discipleship; but there’s also grace and reward in responding to God’s call.

1. The Test of Yielding
The more willing we are in yielding our all to the Lord, the easier it becomes for Him to reveal His will and ways. It’s possible to maintain a firm grip on activities or position that results in having a work for God, rather than an all-consuming focus for God Himself. As Corrie Ten Boom puts it, “We must not grasp things too tightly, lest our fingers get hurt when He prises them from us.”

Sacrifice, surrender and read more…

The Gift of Home

This week, we hosted our pastors from 17 nations for the annual Cornerstone Global Network (CGN) Summit. We had fun and wonderful fellowship in the midst of serious Kingdom business. God did an amazing work in all our hearts – vision renewed and sharpened, the hungry were fed, those struggling were strengthened, the weary were refreshed. Such camaraderie was forged over the four days that we were reluctant to say goodbye. There was never a dull moment.

There was a notable shift in this year’s Summit – a greater intensity and resolve to advance the Kingdom of God, and a greater intention to align and extend the work of God in the nations through Cornerstone churches. The Summit’s atmosphere was one of like-mindedness and authenticity. One pastor who had just joined us for the first time said to me, “I read more…

Motion vs Progression

We want to specially welcome the pastors from our Cornerstone Global Network for our weekend services. The Cornerstone Global Network (CGN) family covers 21 nations and every year we’ve our annual CGN Summit. This year, 80 of us will be spending four days together, communing, praying and walking in the revelation of His Word. 


The Summit is a key gathering and has always been a time of re-calibrating, sharpening and envisioning for the global family. It’s important to communicate and translate what the Lord has spoken so we can move with the same purpose and do the work He’s given us to do. We learn to take the lead from the Holy Spirit and to communicate the tribal anointing to the CGN. It’s also very fun-filled with lots of bonding time, and the test of these read more…

The Creation of Boundaries

The Creation account is so full of wisdom and understanding, but so few people pay close attention when reading through it. Our focus is often on the content of what was being created on each day of Creation, and we gloss over the process of creation and pay even lesser attention to what it says about the Creator.

For one thing, Creation is punctuated by a principal word – “order”. God laid out order on a planet that was without form, void and in chaos. At the same time, essential to establishing order on earth is the need to bring about a separation or division. In fact, the very first act of creating light was and an act to bring about a division between light and darkness. The next act of creation was to divide the heavens and the earth. read more…

It’s Better To-gather!

In the month of July, we launch our annual Cell Month campaign. It’s a month of celebrating cell groups and encouraging members to be part of one. Cornerstone is a cell church and one of our core values is that life change happens best in cell communities. At the same time, we inaugurated the 40-Day Solemn Assemblies on July 1, a nationwide campaign to mobilise churches, leaders and believers in our nation to fast and pray.

Cornerstone had the privilege of anchoring the first week of prayer and fasting in the Central Zone. Tremendous momentum has been building up and there’s been much grace for prayer and fasting. 

When we think about prayer, we tend to think of it primarily as a solitary and private activity. Yet, the Bible tells us to pray “at all times” and with “every read more…

I Hear, I Obey

Our modern western culture, which is influenced by Greek philosophy, segregates the words “listen” and “obey” into a mental and a physical activity respectively. First, we hear, then we evaluate to gain understanding and then make a choice based on our evaluation. But in the Hebrew language, there’s no word for “obey”. The Hebrew word for “listen” and “obey” comes from a singular word, “Shema”, which means to hear AND to follow through what you’ve heard with tangible actions and commitment.

Observant Jews will recite Deut 6:4-5 every day, “Hear (Shema), O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” By saying this, a Jew would remind himself of his commitment to love God, to dedicate himself to following God and read more…

Timeless Eternity

Discovering why we were created and knowing our purpose on this earth are the two things that will significantly alter the way we live. It’ll change the way we approach life, view life, and live life.

Perhaps one of the most affirming and transforming passages in the Bible is found in Ps 139:15-16. The psalmist declares, “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all are written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

We were conceived in the mind of God long before we were born. All our measurements, each intricate detail of our lives were then written in a Book and at the time read more…

Thriving in the Culture

Quite recently, I heard a message from Pastor Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands and he was preaching from the book of Daniel. The message got me thinking quite a bit. While this is not a reproduction of his message, many of these thoughts were catalysed by that sermon and I want to give due credit to that.

Daniel and his friends were captives in Babylon and they were placed in a culture and system that was diametrically different from Israel’s. If a parallel could be drawn, it’d be that of the culture of the Kingdom of God and the culture of the world. In many instances, we become the product of the culture that we’re immersed in; but for Daniel and his friends, not only were they not sucked into the culture of Babylon, they thrived and succeeded read more…

Examine Our Hearts

Over the last couple of weeks, there were several things that deeply concerned me about God’s people. These are not new problems, but somehow, I sense the Holy Spirit placing an urgent emphasis on them.

The first concern is about our ability to hear from the Lord. As a pastor, my job is not to be an intermediary between God and His people. My office as part of the five-fold ministry is to train the saints and equip them, and that includes training believers to hear from the Lord for themselves.

Unlike traditional concepts of priesthood, where the priest or spiritual leader is the channel of communication between the people and God, Christianity does not hold to such a concept. God’s will is that all His people are able to hear from Him. His desire is that all should prophesy.

read more…

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