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Too many superstars

Josh had a very vivid dream while we were out hiking that he later recounted to me: It seemed like we were in the upstairs of a house. There was a handful of guys standing around, when all of a sudden, you said, “Now i understand…..there are too many superstars!” And as if the word from …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Josh had a very vivid dream while we were out hiking that he later recounted to me:
It seemed like we were in the upstairs of a house. There was a handful of guys standing around, when all of a sudden, you said, “Now i
understand…..there are too many superstars!” And as if the word from
God was so overwhelming, you collapsed. A couple of us caught you and placed you on the ground. You did
not totally pass out….you just seemed weak and fell. That was the end
of the dream.
Let’s suppose for a second that God was in the dream, that indeed it was a message of some sort. What would God’s point be? I guess it would be no big revelation that too many of us have ego issues. We want the limelight. Somehow, God is not enough; we need to boost ourselves with the adulation of people as well.
When you’re following a superstar, a number of things are inverted. You find it easier to take your eyes off God and look at man. He (or she) can become a little g god. 
When you’re following a superstar, inevitably you’ll be disappointed. If it’s not an issue of integrity, it may be an issue of poor choices or something that seems to you like a compromise. 
Superstars get twisted around in the limelight. The guys who can keep it together and maintain that prophetic edge like Rich Mullins or Keith Green are rare. Far more common is the Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson syndrome.
When Cornelius the centurion saw Peter, he wanted to treat him like a superstar. Peter would have none of it, saying, “I am only a man myself.”* When Paul healed a crippled man, the crowds went into superstar-adulation-mode saying, “The gods have come down to us in human form.” Paul and Barnabas appropriately responded to their anthropomorphism, We are merely human beings–just like you!“*
For some people, reading People magazine or watching American Idol is a sin. It reinforces their tendency to elevate regular, ordinary human beings to superstar status. It idolizes them, lifting them up to a place of reverence where God belongs. 
I’m continually wary of this tendency in humans. As the director of a growing ministry, I sometimes face this temptation to dabble with the limelight. I’ve seen it take out so many ministry leaders and want nothing of it – I avoid the public eye as much as possible. It feels unnatural to me; we don’t need any more superstars. We have too many already. We love to raise them to unsustainable heights and then, we love to see them fall. It’s a peculiarly American phenomenon – one which we’ve all participated in and need to repent of.
Who have you elevated to superstar status? Maybe a celebrity or maybe your own pastor. They’re bound to disappoint you. Isn’t it about time you cut them a break?

Comments (9)

  • Seth, you ask the question, “Who have you elevated to superstar status?” Sadly, my answer would have to be myself…and, truth be known, the result has been the same as you declare; disappointment. One of the major lessons God has dealt with me about in the past 6 years or so is the idea of “making myself of no reputation.” Certainly, the Bible gives evidence and example of the need for this dynamic. Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a servant. Paul proclaimed that his earthly credentials and pedigree were nothing compared to the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ…Paul made himself of no reputation. I guess the heavy revvy in all of this is that God has not made me of no reputation. Rather, through circumstances of life, He has provided me with the opportunity to make myself of no reputation. At the moment, it’s painful but, in retrospect, what a privilege to be given the opportunity to conform to the image of Christ! I can either defend my rep or lose it. Jesus said if I seek to preserve my life I will lose it but if I lose my life for Him, I will find it. The pride of superstardom, even (or especially) self proclaimed, is a difficult stronghold to break. But God! All glory to His name!! See James 4:6-10. Hope this helps someone out there.

    Peace and Blessings to all…


  • Seems like God wants to take you higher in Him, (being upstairs in the house), but we are called to be a nameless faceless generation. The only thing that should be exalted is the name of Jesus. In order to go higher we are called to go lower still. Lower still, at the feet of Jesus. Like a beggar knowing we are nothing without Jesus. Blessed are the poor in spirit, recognizing our spiritual depravity without Him, who fills our cup.

    Moment by moment surrender.

  • There is an amazing feeling that comes over you when God speaks. Especially when He speaks to someone else through you. You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you give someone something….its like that x10. This was the first time God had ever given me such a vivid dream to share with someone. It has caused me to dig deeper and want even more of what my Daddy has to offer me!! thanks for sharing that Seth.


  • We have a traveling sales bell “trophy” where I work. It is rung by the sales guy responsible for the receipt of a very large $ order. It then hangs in that salesman’s office until the next large order comes in. I try to resist this culture for the very reasons you mention.

  • When a Christian leader demands all the oxygen in the room something is wrong and you can be certain Jesus isn’t around. Thanks for this Seth.

  • Seth you hit the nail on the head! For once someone hits that superstar level they often forget what Andy Warhol wrote so well…”Your five minutes of fame”. When all is said and done, without a true trust in God, the emptiness remains.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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