My favorite quotes

Last Revised September 2014

A person's favorite quotes reflect upon who they are and what's most important to them. Here you'll find a glimpse into the ideas that have shaped me into who I am. Some are inspirational, some are hilarious, some are both, and hopefully almost all will make you think in one way or another.

Other pages in the biography section:

Lists of favorite things
Favorite quotes
Random things
Vocabulary I use


"As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." - Joshua 1:5

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalm 37:4

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1

"The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me." - Psalm 138:8

"Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." - Proverbs 12:25

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." - Zephaniah 3:17

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" - Mark 9:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? - Luke 12:22-26

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other." - John 15:11-17

"...If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

"I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


"Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still." - Martin Luther

"Believe in your beliefs and doubt your doubts" - my friend Kathryn

"If you've got time to worry, you've got time to pray" - one of the DJs on KTIS radio

"My soul isn't up for debate anymore, but if Satan can keep me ineffective, then that's why he bothers." - my friend Drew

"Pray like it's all up to God. Then work like it's all up to you." - my friend Drew (who had heard it from a sermon)

At the end of the day you can only do what you can do, and you have to leave the rest up to God.

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." - my friend Matthew

"Just remember that age is a number, not a lifestyle." - my friend Shawn

"I want to fail as quickly as possible" - a presenter from Pixar, talking about how, if a story idea just isn't going to work, he wants to know sooner rather than later. I think it applies in many more areas of life.

"Though no one can predict the future, we can go into the future with hope because Jesus is already there. Our hope for tomorrow is always based on our faith in God's gracious activities yesterday. This hope for the future, based on faith in the past, frees us to live in the present with love." - Pastor Al Neibacher, Jr (my childhood pastor)

Randy Pausch

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

"When you're screwing up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up.... When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody's bothering to tell you anymore, that's a very bad place to be." (YouTube link)

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." (YouTube link)

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out, the brick walls are there give us a chance to show how badly we want something, because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough." (YouTube link)

"...that is the best gift an educator can give, is to get somebody to become self-reflective." (YouTube link)

Timothy Keller

"Doubt your doubts and gaze at the tomb"

"If you put work first and health second, eventually you'll have neither"

"Make me [God] your one true love or you'll never know [love]."

Steve Jobs

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

"If something isn't right, you can't just ignore it and say you'll fix it later. That's what other companies do."

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."

Rich Mullins

You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you just have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too...[And he paused in the awkward silence.] But I guess that's why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.

I had a prof one time... He said, "Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway."

And this is what I have come to think: That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, whom I claim to be my Savior and Lord the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they're just wrong. They're not bad, they're just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynn Lavner

"Lord, so often we fill up our time with busy things we think have to be done, instead of quality things that help family and friends, and feed our soul. Nudge us - even push us - until we listen to your call to help in our own church and community, and bless the time we spend in your work. Amen." - A devotional prayer from the church where my Mom teaches preschool

"Dare to be ugly!" - former coworker Ronie, in reference to art, but it applies to all areas of life

"Why would God make us all so different if He wanted us to be the same?" - Mary from the movie Saved!

"We must work in the world. The world is thus."
"No... thus have we made the world. Thus have I made it." - from the movie The Mission

"Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be' - she always called me Elwood - 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." - Elwood P. Dowd, from the movie Harvey

"How do you know that these voices aren't just really you?" - Aulon
"Well they are me. That's how God speaks to me. Even you could hear them, if you listened hard enough." - Joan from the movie The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

"Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, sometimes he doesn't." - a friend of my former coworker David

"A miracle is what seems impossible but happens anyway." - Griffin, in Men In Black III

"Don't try to clear my name. You have the chance to be everything that I couldn't." - Elphaba to Glinda in the musical Wicked

"You're not meant to change the world, Jeremy, you're meant to change people." - my friend Kathryn

"You can't change the world if you can't change yourself." - my optometrist

"The people who are crazy enough to think they change the world are the ones who do" - a vintage Apple commercial


"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where - " said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
- Alice in Wonderland

"All change brings bad things and good things to replace the bad and good things that were before. It is natural to look back and say it was better before, but that does not make it true. Different is not worse, it is just different." - Coyote, from Mercy Thompson Book 6, River Marked

Beggars in Spain (one of my all-time favorite books)

"What the strong owe beggars is to ask each one why he is a beggar and act accordingly. Because community is the assumption, not the result. And only by giving non-productiveness the same individuality as excellence, and acting accordingly, does one fulfill the obligation to the beggars in Spain." - Leisha Camden

"Both generations saw that it's not possible to have both equality, which is just another name for what you call 'community solidarity', and individual excellence. When individuals are free to become anything at all, some will become geniuses, and some will become resentful beggars. Some will benefit themselves and their communities, and others will benefit no one and just loot whatever they can. Equality disappears. You can't have both equality and the freedom to pursue individual excellence. So two generations chose inequality. My father chose it for me. Kenzo Yagai chose it for the American economy. A man called Calvin Hawke.... picked the side of the born-unequal, and tried to even up the equation a little, and excellence-be-damned. Of all of us, only Tony Indivino and your grandmother tried to create a community that put just as much value on its own solidarity, the equality of those who were included as members, as on those members' individual diverse achievements. Jennifer failed, because it can't be done." - Leisha Camden

"There are no permanent beggars in Spain. Or anywhere else. The beggar you give a dollar to today, might change the world tomorrow. Or become father to the man who will. Or grandfather, or great-grandfather. There is no stable ecology of trade, as I thought once, when I was very young. There is no stable anything, much less stagnant anything given enough time. And no non-productive anything either. Beggars are only gene lines temporarily between communities." - Leisha Camden

Beggars and Choosers

"Mary once told me that there were only four important questions you could ask about any human being. How does he fill up his time? How does he feel about how he fills up his time? What does he love? How does he react to those he perceives as either inferior or superior to him? 'If you make people feel inferior, even unintentionally,' she had said, her dark eyes intense, 'they will be uncomfortable around you. In that situation, some people will attack, some will ridicule to "cut you down to size," but some will admire, and learn from you. If you make people feel superior, some will react by dismissing you, some by wielding power just because they can, in greater or lesser ways. But some will be moved to protect and help. All this is just as true of a junior lodge klieg as of a group of governments.'"

Beggars Ride

The rest of the world had forgotten that Community had a biological base as well as a social one. A human being belonged not only to those communities he chose - professional and geographical - but to that into which he was born. His first obligation must be loyalty to the community that had nurtured him, or the entire chain of nurturing generations broke down. And that loyalty must be a choice, not a mindless dogma. That was finally what it meant to be fully human. Not the pack loyalty of wolves, but that people could choose other than their pack, and choose not to. The moral choice. The Sleepers, dazzled by the technology that should be servant and not master, had forgotten that kind of morality. Too bad for the Sleepers. They would destroy themselves. - Jennifer Sharifi

Jane Eyre

I maintained a grave silence for some minutes.
"You mu'n't'a think too hardly of me." she again remarked.
"But I do think hardly of you." I said. "And I'll tell you why. Not so much because you refused to give me shelter, or regarded me as an imposter, as because you just now made it a species of reproach that I had no brass and no house. Some of the best people that ever lived have been as destitute as I am, and if you are a Christian, you ought not to consider poverty a crime." - Jane

Death Comes for the Archbishop

"The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always."

"His nose and chin are getting to be close neighbours now..."

"Their foolish ways no longer offend me, their very faults are dear to me." - Father Joseph

"Nothing one could say of Father Vaillant explained him. The man was much greater than the sum of his qualities. He added a glow to whatever kind of human society he was dropped into."

"Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. The landscape one longed for when one was far away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!"

"... Father Latour judged that, just as it was the white man's way to assert himself in any landscape, to change it, make it over a little (at least to leave some mark of memorial of his sojourn), it was the Indian's way to pass through a country without disturbing anything; to pass and leave no trace, like fish through water, or birds through air."

"In his Denver congregation there were men who owned mines and saw-mills and flourishing businesses, but they needed all their money to push these enterprises. Down among the Mexicans, who owned nothing but a mud house and a burro, he could always raise money. If they had anything at all, they gave."

"He knelt, and Father Vaillant, having blessed him, knelt and was blessed in turn. They embraced each other for the past-for the future."

"For many years Duty separated us, but death has brought us together. The time is not far distant when I shall join him. Meanwhile, I am enjoying to the full that period of reflection which is the happiest conclusion to a life of action."

"I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived."

Gallimore (an exchange from page 110)

The counselor raised his leathery hand to rest with surprising lightness on Colwyn's head. "I see much in you that is reminiscent of me. Learn from my errors, boy. Do not turn your back on love when it is offered to you, and when the way of peace is revealed, seek it with all your strength. Do not allow your pride to hinder you."

Had anyone else dared to utter such words to him, he would've flattened them on his way out of the room. Instead, he tucked the wisdom away, unwilling to consider it at the moment.

"Leave now. Do not return home nor wait for the day of attack. Find a far-off country. Start a new life."

"And you?"

"Me?" The wizened counselor snorted his amusement. "I'm too old to heed my own advice. And, as I've said, the queen's ear is still mine. I've a feeling that therein lies the hope of England. God be with you, my boy."


"Neither a borrower, nor a lender be" - Polonius

"This above all: to thine own self be true" - Polonius

"I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
hath given you one face, and you make yourselves
another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on 't; it hath
made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages;
those that are married already, all but one, shall
live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
nunnery, go." - Hamlet

"Not a whit, we defy augury; there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves,
what is 't to leave betimes?
Let be." - Hamlet

If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat

"The greatest hitters in the world fail two times out of three. But if you don't step up to the plate, you will never know the glory of what it is to hit a home run."

"Millions of people in churches these days could be called "pew potatoes". They want some of the comfort associated with spirituality, but they don't want the risk and challenge that go along with actually following Jesus."

"Take some time to imagine the scene where you and God review your life together. What single step could you take today to most minimize the regret factor at the end of your life?"

The first response to a God-sized calling is generally fear. Henry Blackaby writes, "Some people say God will never ask me to do something I can't do. I've come to the place in my life that, if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something that I know I can handle, I know it is probably not from God. The kind of assignments God gives in the Bible are always God-sized. They're always beyond what people can do, because He wants to demonstrate His nature, His strength, His provision, and His kindness to His people, and to the watching world. This is the only the world will come to know Him."

One morning after they had troubling dreams we're told, "When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled, so he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him under house arrest, 'why are your faces downcast today?'" This is a striking detail in the story. It would be easy for Joseph to become isolated, to focus only on his own disappointment. When life does not turn out the way you plan, you forget that other people face disappointment, too. You may begin to think only about your own hurts. Your world becomes so small that your pain is the only pain you notice. This is the death of the heart, the loss of meaning. Instead, Joseph realizes that he is not the only one for whom life has not turned out according to plan. He lives the way Jesus would: he treats disgraced prisoners like human beings, he notices them, asks about them, and expresses genuine interest in them. At a time when we would expect him to be self-preoccupied, Joseph is sincerely concerned for others' well-being. "Why are your faces downcast today?" He does this even though he is not expecting anything in return, and by his noticing, Joseph gives meaning to his presence in prison.

The point of memorizing Scripture is not to see how many verses you can memorize. The point is what happens to your mind in the process of rehearsing Scripture.

Paul says that while we are waiting for God to set everything right, we suffer. But suffering produces endurance, endurance character, and character hope. God is producing these qualities in us as we wait. Waiting is not just something we have to do while we get what we want. It is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. What does it meant to wait on the Lord? Let's start with a word about Biblical waiting is not. It is not a passive waiting around for something to happen that will allow you to escape your trouble. People sometimes say, "I'm just waiting on the Lord," as an excuse not to face up to reality, own up to their responsibility, or take appropriate action. I've heard people with horrible financial habits, impulsive spending, refusal to save, in the midst of a big money mess say, "we're waiting for the Lord to provide." This fits into the general theological category of "don't be stupid." Waiting on the Lord in this case, does not mean sitting around hoping you get a letter from Visa that reads, "Bank error in your favor, collect $200." It probably means dragging your little financial self to a source where you can learn Biblical principles for a life of good stewardship. It may mean cultivating new financial habits like budgeting, tithing, putting off buying things until you actually have enough money to pay for them. Biblical waiting is not passive. It is not a way to evade unpleasant reality. "Waiting on the Lord" is a confident, disciplined, expectant, active, and sometimes painful clinging to God. Waiting on the Lord is a continual daily decision to say, "I will trust you, and I will obey you. Even though the circumstances of my life are not turning out the way I want them to, and may never turn out the way I would choose, I am betting everything on you. I have no plan B."

We can wait with confidence, because waiting reminds us that we are waiting for someone. The single most important activity in waiting, is prayer. Prayer allows us to wait without worry.

The Shack

"Mackenzie, the Bible doesn't teach you to follow rules. It is a picture of Jesus. While words may tell you what God is like, and even what He may want from you, you cannot do any of it on your own. Life and living is in Him, and in no other. My goodness, you didn't think you could live the righteousness of God on your own, did you?" - Papa

"Well, I thought so, sort of. But you gotta admit rules and principals are simpler than relationships." - Mack

"It is true that relationships are a whole lot messier than rules, but rules will never give you answers to the deep questions of the heart, and they will never love you." - Papa

"I'm realizing how few answers I have to anything. You know, you've turned me upside down or inside out or something." - Mack

"MacKenzie. Religion is about having the right answers, and, some of their answers are right. But I am about the process that takes you to the Living Answer, and once you get to Him, He will change you from the inside. There are a lot of smart people who are able to say a lot of right things from their brain, because they have been told what the right answers are, but they don't know me at all. So really, how can their answers be right, even if they are right, if you understand my drift?" - Papa


"At the melting point, things melt" - my high school chemistry teacher

"Oh, it won't be random, if I'm getting fired, I'm making it worth it." - one of my high school teachers

"It's okay, Jeremy, we all talk to ourselves, you just record what you say." - a friend from my high school, referring to my voice recorder

"The faculty are children and should be treated as such." - my friend Dan from high school

"See, the trouble with babies is they can't communicate. You can't ask them things like 'Do you see a doggy?'
'Do you just hear a buzz?'
'Are those entrails you're being assailed with?" - my Introductory Psychology professor

College roommates

A conversation regarding the horse Clever Hans:
Ben: "At least the horse was interacting, pretending to learn, like me."
Me: "So you're a horse?"
Ben: "I am a horse, or horses are just as intelligent as I am, or the other way around, depending how you look at it."

Steve: "There's a panda bear in our bathroom! Look out, it will maul you."
Me: "No, Panda bears are cute and cuddly!"
Steve: "That doesn't mean it can't maul you, it will just be a cute and cuddly experience."

Ben: "I'm reading Job."
Steve: "Your mom reads Job. That might have been the worst your mom joke ever."

"Your kids will glow in the dark unless you marry someone of color!" - I'm pretty sure this was Marissa (one of my best friends)

"Wait, are you wearing an actual coat? I've never seen you wear a real coat!" - my friend Sarah, on a very cold and rainy day

"And before going to bed remember to flip off the devil" - my college pastor, Pastor Benson, jokingly suggesting something Martin Luther might have said

"Skipping class, much like skipping Church, makes the baby Jesus cry" - my college's Pastoral Intern Andy, my senior year

"Jeremy lost his memory! I mean, his voice recorder got broken." - Marissa, joking about if my voice recorder were ever to get broken

"Deck the halls with bows of holly, fa... Oh, I forgot how it goes!" - my friend Kayla

"I'm so busy I don't know whether I found a rope or lost my horse." - Mom

"I'm smelling what you're stepping in." (as in, "I'm picking up what you're laying down") - my friend Maggie

"Don't be a douche-tool" - my friend Jenny; words to live by

"If you want people to help you for free, don't be a moron." - my friend Amy; more words to live by

"Jeremy, you've got your shit together" - my friend and mentor John, circa late 2011 (though hopefully it's still true!)

"You're also talking to someone who really loves the color plaid" - my friend Brooke

"There's always a tunnel at the end of the rainbow" - my friend Elliott

"Sometimes all you can be is the bad example for someone else to learn from." - my coworker Jason

"[Jeremy] comes off as if he would be socially awkward, but he's not." - my friend Hannah's Dad, to her, about me

My friend Lindsay: "Your silence is always compelling to talk more"
Me: "Yeah I know, it's my secret weapon."


"We always put an on/off button on the phone. The phone is supposed to be *your* slave. You are not supposed to be the slave of your phone." - Martin Cooper, inventor of the cell phone

Computer Science in college

Me: "...It's because that class is part of the CS 'Core Foundation'"
Ben: "We are such geeks. And the really sad part is we're probably the only two on the campus who would have understood that joke"

"You throw objects, both in domestic disputes and in java" - RAB, one of our computer science professors

"No one can change you from an apple to an orangutan, only you can change yourself from an apple to an orangutan" - RAB

"I know I shouldn't use purple, it doesn't erase well. But I'm building up a stack frame!" - RAB

Real programmers don't document. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

"Unix is simple, but it takes a genius to understand the simplicity" - Dennis Ritchie, inventor of the C language

"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone." - Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of the C++ language

Roses are #FF0000, Violets are #0000FF
All my base are belong to you