Things I Hope To Not Say To @JonAcuff

Today I am in the ATL for the Catalyst Conference. This is my 11th year. I love this conference!

One of the things that I love is that each year I not only get challenged to be a better leader and a better Christian, I also get the chance to run into some of the people that I really look up to.

People like Jon Acuff.

Now even though I enjoy running into these people I also hate it because my nerves take over and I have been known to yell out random stupid things that leave me feeling embarrassed and the person running for protective custody.

If you follow this blog then you know I’m random. I have a random sense of humor and my mind jumps all over the place. You put that thing in a stressful situation and you get AWKWARD!

Well, if I do get the chance to run into Jon Acuff I hope that my brain doesn’t force my mouth to say the following things…

  • “Pull my finger.”
  • “TICKLE FIGHT!” I think it’s really funny to hear grown adults talk about a tickle fight. Grown ups just don’t tickle other grown ups. Now if you know me then you know that I’m joking about tickle fights. I don’t have them. But if you don’t know me and I yell this at you then you go straight into ninja kicking me in the throat.
  • “Sign my chest?” Followed by…
  • “I don’t have a Sharpie.” I don’t ever want anyone to see my chest yet alone sign it. It’s just that it seems to be something that fans say to people they look up to. My random brain may go there. I hope not! Dear God, please don’t let me get so nervous that I show Jon Acuff my nips!
  • “Good game!” accompanied by a swift swat on the tush.
  • “So what happened with Dave Ramsey?” Jon used to work at Dave Ramsey and even though everyone is curious to what happened this is a sure fire way to make him not talk to me.
  • “Boxers or briefs?”
  • “I really like your Twitter” Let’s just be honest, Twitter is awesome but it’s a name that provides it’s own inappropriate but not really jokes. I do like following Jon on Twitter but I don’t want to talk about his Twitter.
  • “I love DeBarge too!” I’ve seen Jon Tweet about his love for the 80’s band DeBarge. I just don’t want to come off like I’m trying to hard. This would be trying to hard.
  • “You just posted via Facebook about joining LinkedIn, so can you explain to me what LinkedIn is?” No one knows this answer. Not even Jon Acuff.
  • “Does this make me look fat?”
  • “What does the fox say?”

The truth is that I think I’m over saying dumb things to people I look up to. It hasn’t happened in a few years.

I want to be myself.

I want to find a way to not make it all about me. You see my problem is that I so want the Jon Acuff’s of the world to like me that it causes me to try too hard.

My identity can way too easily get wrapped up in what someone I look up to says to me or doesn’t say to me. I can become consumed with showing other people who I’ve met so that it makes me look special.

Not any more.

If I get a chance to talk to Jon I want to find a way to encourage him without sounding like I’m sucking up. I am really tempted to bring him a container of queso because he once Tweeted that “queso is the 6th Love Language.” I’m just not sure pulling out melted cheese from my pocket leaves a great impression. Even if it was really good queso.

I want to give more than I get. Jon’s already blessed my life with his writing. I don’t need anything from him.

I hope to talk to Jon Acuff, but my day won’t be ruined if I don’t. You see, I’m loved by Jesus and He knows my name. I don’t have to impress Him. He’s cool with my awkwardness.

I still hope that I don’t blurt out to Jon something crazy like, “Can we full frontal hug?”

Who is one person that you look up to that you’d like to meet in person one day?

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.


  1. October 2, 2013

    I’d like to meet John Piper. He’s living in Knoxville for a year, which is only 15 minutes from where I work, so I don’t know what the problem is. They shut down the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is 5 minutes from my house, so I know he won’t be wasting his life by coming around looking at leaves. I’m afraid I might ask him if he ever doesn’t desire God.
    I met Jon a couple of years ago, got my picture made with him, forgot to get Quitter signed and now he’s my best friend. Loves to pull my finger.

  2. October 2, 2013

    Let’s see. I’ve met Craig Groeschel and Artie Davis. While I don’t have any “idols” as such I would like to meet Richard Stearns, Joel Manby and John Burke and tell them what a difference their books have made in my life. Oh, I haven’t met you yet Rob. 🙂 I could then die in peace with a smile on my face.

  3. October 2, 2013

    My hero Rob Shepherd is at Catalyst too. I hope I get to see him!

  4. shepherdmim
    October 2, 2013

    I am so UN-impressed with fame. Reading a great book or seeing someone on TV may impress me with what they are doing or what they have said,or with their talent, but meeting these people face to face can be disappointing. They are normal people,often introverted,and awkward outside of their performing arena. What I am impressed with is that they have used their “gifting” well and have somehow channeled their talent to reach masses. That challenges me to want to multiply my talents and use them more effectively to bless others.

  5. Lindsey
    October 2, 2013

    Jesus, the ultimate hero. #jesusjuke #lovejonacuff

  6. Joan Bastian
    October 2, 2013

    It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. Ellen, Karen Kingsbury, Richard Simmons, Robin Roberts….

  7. Lu
    October 2, 2013

    Mario of all the original SBTB cast he is the only one who looks like he hasn’t aged at all and seems to be still relevant for no reason..ACTUALLY im with “Mim’s” on this one! Lol

  8. Gayle
    October 2, 2013

    Have you considered that there are people who feel the same way about meeting you? They might get nervous and not know what to say when they see you? I will say, that I do look up to you and when I have met you face to face before, I was nervous and didn’t know what to say! I think I just told you that your kids were beautiful. 🙂

  9. October 2, 2013

    Honestly? There is one person who’s really been in my corner, cheering me on, telling me “you’ve got this, I’m proud of you.” He’ll probably be embarrassed by this, but the truth is the one person I want to meet in the flesh before Jesus comes back isn’t a celebrity at all. Like Jon Acuff, he’s a fan of queso.

    Who am I talking about?

    All around good dude Ricky Anderson. I have my reasons.

  10. mary Ilgenfritz
    October 2, 2013

    I agree with mim,however my always first choice is JESUS OF CORSE. Then I have to admit Anthony Hopkins,sorry,but he seems to be very cool to me.

  11. October 2, 2013

    I have no “remember me!” moments (yet). I am not into idol worship, so I don’t have any kind of list of folks that I am just dying to meet, unless you count Miss Right.

    • October 2, 2013

      Daniel- don’t you mean Mizzzz Right? 😉

      • October 2, 2013

        O.K., this was an absolutely professional reply. I am going to award you with some kudos Stephen.

  12. October 2, 2013

    Rob Shepherd!

    Okay, others on my list would be Jon Acuff and Michael Hyatt.

  13. October 2, 2013

    I would like to meet Jared C. Wilson because I appreciate his writing, conviction, and sense of humor.


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