Great Expectations

My name is Mark Smith. I'm a guy who loves Jesus, His Word, and His Church. I am filled with Great Expectations for what the future will ultimately bring - Matthew 24:14.

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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

My favourite verse is Psalm 16:11, my other favourite verse is Acts 20:24, my other favourite verse is Habakkuk 3:17-19, and my other favourite verse is Matthew 24:14.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hotel Rwanda Is Happening Again

I came up to go to bed early tonight because of an early morning tomorrow and a busy day of Graduation rehearsal and related activities to follow. However, I got an email from George Verwer (the founder of Operation Mobilization) and that led me to checking his website. And that led me to reading his blog. His entry from today says:

Hotel Rwanda :: 4/27/2006

I have just watched ‘Hotel Rwanda’ which is the most important film I have seen in this decade. It showed how almost the whole world turned its back on Rwanda in 1994 causing the death of close to one million people. Something similar is going on right now.

Contact you Senator or Congressmen to do something.
This led me to looking into more information about what is happening in the Sudan. Low and behold, for the first time that I can remember in a long time, it actually made the headlines on It made the headlines because George Clooney spoke up about it. Like Clooney says in the video clip found in that article, the genocide is not sexy enough to make the news very often. But it - genocide - is happening right now.
"What we cannot do is turn our heads and look away and hope that this will somehow disappear," Clooney said.
"Because if we do, they will. They will disappear," he said, noting that an "entire generation of people will be gone. Then, only history will be left to judge us."
He related a story about meeting a "little elf of a young woman" who asked him in Arabic, "When will you come back," and "When will you stop this?"

He said he told the translator to tell her that "we'll be there soon."

Clooney said she laughed, held onto his finger and said, "That's what you always say."
I haven't even see Hotel Rwanda, but I intend to now. But even without seeing it, it makes me want to cry and get angry all at once to know that it is happening all over again and some movie will probably get made years from now to show us all that we have learned nothing from our past mistakes.... We should all call/write out MP. And pray - remembering that as K.P. Yohannan explains in Revolution in World Missions, every problem like this is ultimately a spiritual problem.

Zoo and Jays Game Pictures

For any Heritage friends (or anyone else too! lol) who would like to see the pictures from the Zoo and the Jays Game, check out this link: Pictures

Monday, April 24, 2006

Gifts of the Spirit

The reason I haven't blogged much of any substance this past week or so is not really because of exams. Exams have been fairly easy, and not any more time consuming then regular papers. The thing that has been consuming my time has been some "extra-curricular" study on the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Basically I'm in the "Open but Cautious" camp right now. I am not a cessationist and I am not a pentecostal. I'm open to the miraculous gifts like tongues, prophecy (words of knowledge), and healing because I certainly don't see anything in Scripture that says that any gifts have ceased. But I've never experienced any of those gifts, or even witnessed them - and they fact that there is clearly (I think) so much abuse of those sorts of gifts out there makes me very leery.

I love Wayne Grudem and I know that he is associated with the "Third Wave" movement - which led me to want to consider it.*** I also love Sam Storms. Sam Storms gained my love and admiration and respect when I read the following statement under the Christian Hedonism article in his theology section:

Next to Scripture and Jonathan Edwards, John Piper has helped me understand the centrality of Christian Hedonism more than anyone else. If you haven’t read Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Multnomah Publishers, 2003 edition), repent, close down this website, and go purchase that volume. I trust it will change your life the way it changed mine.

Then the more I read Sam Storms I came to find how thoroughly biblical he is and my respect for him grew and grew. Then I learned that at some point in his life he moved from a cessationist position to becoming a part of the Third Wave movement, and that made me hate him! Just kidding! Obviously if he is so solid in everything else, then the fact that he believes all the gifts of the Spirit are for today made me want to learn more from him in that regard. Someday I plan to read his book, Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist.

Of course, over and above these guys was the fact that I read my Bible and notice verses like 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 1 Corinthians 14:1 and 1 Corinthians 14:39 and others which sure made it seem like cessationism is um......wrong. And then if cessationism is wrong and the gifts are still certainly for today, I thought maybe I should be more than just "Open but Cautious" - maybe I should be doing what we seem to be told, which is "desiring the higher gifts."

So this past while I have been looking into this sort of stuff more and more. At the suggestion of a friend, I read a book this week by Jack Deere called "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit." Before reading the book I first read a negative review of it in The Master's Seminary Journal so that I would approach the book with a less than positive attitude. However, even after reading the review, I read the book and found that I thought very highly of it. In the book, Deere explains how he moved from a cessationist position to a noncessationist position - at the cost of his job as a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He then presents a biblical case for the continuation of miraculous gifts that I found very persuassive - much more persuassive then the negative review of the book that I read. Now I'm not saying that I agree with everything Deere wrote. Some things I disagreed with, but overall I thought his biblical case was really good.

So am I going to join the nearest Vineyard Church? No. And neither am I starting to call myself Third Wave. (For one thing it's a dumb title lol......I think Grudem is right in saying that a better term for this position would be "Expectant Evangelicals"). I'm not all Third Waveish now. I'm just more open than ever before and want to do more research on it. To this end I took out the book "Four Views" book called Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? from the library today and intend to read at least the two views that I'm most open to along with the rebuttles and closing statements, and perhaps all four of the views this week before I go home from school.

Maybe by this time next week I will have some more stuff to blog about this very interesting and important topic.

***Don't look "Third Wave" up on google and believe everything you read about it. Believe it or not, the internet has some messed up ideas on it! If you want to learn more of what is meant by Third Wave then I suggest you do some actual research from websites more credible than Wikipedia - and primarily from books. I good place to start on the web would be Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Part 1 and Part 2 by Dr. Sam Storms.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Triad of the Week II

I haven't been in action but I haven't been relaxing - there will be a lengthy blog coming up this week explaining why I haven't blogged much for a while. For now, here is the second Triad of the Week.

If I had one chance to tell you something...

Song of the Week
Be Still, My Soul
Ka­tha­ri­na von Schle­gel

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, be leaving, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Quote of the Week
Joni Eareckson Tada (from The God I Love)

"Lord, your answer to physical healing meant yes to a deeper healing-a better one. Your answer has bound me to other believers and taught me so much about myself. It's purged sin from my life, it's strengthened my commitment to you, forced me to depend on your grace. Your wiser, deeper answer has stretched my hope, refined my faith, and helped me to know you better. And you are good. You are so good."

Verse of the Week
Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, [1] for those who are called according to his purpose.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gotta Love MacArthur

This is butter: Wading In.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Triad of the Week

I'm going to start posting "The Triad of the Week" at the beginning of each week....well, at the beginning of some weeks....I don't plan on being perfectly consistent - this blog is something I do for fun and if it becomes a chore then I will stop doing it.

"The Triad of the Week" will consist of a song lyric, a quote, and a Bible verse which will all be related in some way.

Song of the Week
What Now
Steven Curtis Chapman

I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl
She was standing in the corner on the other side of the world
And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my heart
Didn't you say you wanted to find me?
Well here I am, here you are

So, What now?
What will you do now that you found Me?
What now?
What will you do with this treasure you've found?
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you remember this is right where I said I would be
You've found me
What now?

And I saw the face of Jesus down on Sixteenth Avenue
He was sleeping in an old car, while his mom went looking for food
And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my soul
Didn't you say you wanted to know me?
Well here I am, and it's getting cold

So, What now?
What will you do now that you found Me?
What now?
What will you do with this treasure you've found?
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you remember this is right where I said I would be
You've found me

So, come and know
Come and know, know me now
Come, come and know, know me now
Oh, come and know
Come, come and know, know me now
Come, come and know, know me now

What will you do now that you found me?
What now?
What will you do with this treasure you've found?
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you remember this is right where I said I would be
You've found me
What now?
What now?

Quote of the Week
K.P. Yohannan

Throughout Scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance: sharing.

Verse of the Week
1 John 3:17-18

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Watch an Asian Worship Service!!

Click here to watch a quick video of an Asian worship service.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Battle Cry

As some of you know, I went to "Battle Cry" this weekend in Detroit. I had never been to any Acquire The Fire events before, but had heard enough about them that I thought I would be in for a really great time, and I thought that I might question the content/benefit of the speaking/the conference. I'll comment on both things.

First, I was absolutely right about the great time! It was awesome. The Cross Movement was incredible, Toby Mac was quite possibly the best concert I've ever been to, and the atmosphere was always fun. All the other bands and the speakers and messages were really entertaining too. The time in the motel with the guys was awesome fun as well.

Second, I was pretty wrong about the content of the speakers/conference as a whole. Ron Luce's messages really were good stuff. I liked how he talked about things like how we have a whole generation of passive "Christians" right now because they have all "accepted Jesus" - which amounts to a passive act that does not actually change life. He emphasized how Jesus did not call people to accept Him but rather to follow Him - and following amounts to more than a passive consent because it necessarily is an active thing. I did not think that the emotions of the Youth were played on during the Altar Call. Of course, the natural emotion and everything that comes from...40,000?...teens being in one building no doubt amounted to people going forward who really should not have, but I bet there were some genuine conversions too. I don't know just where I stand with the whole concept of Altar Calls, but my tenative opinion right now is that given the circumstances at an event like that, there is nothing wrong with presenting kids with the chance to come forward. Ron's next message about being branded for Christ instead of being unknowingly branded by our sin-sick culture was also really good stuff. Generally speaking, I thought all the messages were good. Not flawless, but still very good. Of course, I do not know what the eternal benefit of the conference will prove to be in the lives of many who were there, but there was a good emphasis on how it is not enough for the teens to get all excited for a weekend and then go back and live the same way - there must be change and discipleship. So if the teens were listening, there will be some benefit from this conference for sure. I went in somewhat skeptical, but was very pleased with the conference content. The guys I was with that had been to ATF in the past also said that this one was better content than ever before.

So it was good stuff...sure I could find some things to complain about if I wanted to, but there were so many positives that I'm not going to spend time highlighting the few things that I didn't think were great. was a great weekend!! :)

Wayne "Right Minded On All Points" Grudem

For all the Wayne Grudem fans out there: Check out his sermon preached at Bethlehem Baptist a few weeks ago right here.

I'm kidding about Grudem being right minded on all points...he is probably wrong about.....something.... ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What's Happening to Boys?!

I'm liking Al Mohler more and more all the time. This is a quick little blog entry worth reading from him:

The Treasure Principle

Those on my email list know that I like to send out emails with great quotes of the latest good books that I have been reading. Now that exam time is here and I've had some time to relax, I finally took time to type up some quotes from one of my all time favourite books. I thought that in addition to emailing all the quotes to people on my list, I would also post a few here. If these quotes whet your appetite and you would like to read the rest of the 26 quotes I typed up, comment with your email address and I will send them to you.

May God use these quotes from this book in some way to help to save us from the materialism of the culture we live in - and thus to make us sumpremely happy as we use our money to glorify Him among the poor and suffering and lost in this world.

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

This book makes my Must Read list. It is so good that I have read it twice. It weighs in at 120 little pages.

To read 43 Quotes that were selected by someone much better than me, check out
To get more information on the book, including a video sermon download where Randy Alcorn sums the message of this book up into one sermon, check out
“Imagine you’re alive at the end of the Civil War. You’re living in the South, but you are a Northerner. You plan to move home as soon as the war is over. While in the South you’ve accumulated lots of Confederate currency. Now suppose you know for a fact that the North is going to win the war and the end is imminent. What will you do with your Confederate currency?“If you’re smart, there’s only one answer. You should immediately cash in your Confederate currency for U.S. currency – the only money that will have value once the war is over. Keep only enough Confederate currency to meet your short-term needs.” Pg 13-14

“According to Jesus, storing up earthly treasures isn’t simply wrong. It’s just plain stupid.” Pg 15

“Suppose your home is in France and you’re visiting America for three months, living in a hotel. You’re told that you can’t bring anything back to France on your flight home. But you can earn money and mail deposits to your bank in France.“Would you fill your hotel room with expensive furniture and wall hangings? Of course not. You’d send your money where your home is. You would spend only what you needed on the temporary residence, sending your treasures ahead so they’d be waiting for you when you got home.” Pg 47

“If we would let this reality sink in, it would forever change the way we think and live. We would stop laying up treasures in our earthly hotel rooms and start sending more ahead to our true home.” Pg 48

“Material wealth doesn’t make us happy.
“Listen to some of the wealthiest people of their day:
· The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it. – W.H. Vanderbilt
· I am the most miserable man on earth. – John Jacob Astor
· I have made millions, but they have brought me know happiness. – John D. Rockefeller
· Millionaires seldom smile. – Andrew Carnegie

I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job. – Henry Ford” Pg 52-53.

“C.S. Lewis put it this way:
‘We are halfhearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased’ [by the way, this is my (and many other ppls) favourite quote of all time and applies to so much]

“Even many Christians have settled for a life of unsatisfying material acquisitions, like making mud pies in a slum.” Pg 60

“The fact that you’re reading these words is likely a part of God’s plan to change your life – and in turn change history and eternity…“It’s no accident that you live in this time and place in history. Remind yourself again why the God of providence has entrusted you with so much: ‘Your plenty will supply what they need….You will be made rich…so that you can be generous on every occasion’ (2 Corinthians 8:14; 9:11).” Pg 87

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Better News Than The Jays Victory

04/04/2006: GFA Reaches Nepalis in Malaysia

At the encouragement of the government of Nepal, many Nepalese youth are going to Malaysia with work visas, giving missionaries with Gospel for Asia a new opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ. A GFA leader visited Malaysia recently and was very excited by all that the Lord is doing among the Nepalese there. Hundreds of Nepalese factory workers are receiving Christ, and GFA is privileged to be a part of this through providing Gospel literature and Bibles.

At the invitation of several Malaysian pastors ministering to the Nepalese workers, the country leader of GFA’s ministry in Nepal went to Malaysia to speak at a Christian conference. He took with him 1,000 Nepali Bibles. Please pray that the Word of God will be received and that hungry souls will find satisfaction in the truth. Pray also that the number of Nepalese believers will continue to increase daily.


Monday, April 03, 2006

What Kind of a Blog Is This?

I'm trying to come to grips with what kind of a blog I am going to have in the coming weeks and months and years (provided that I do actually continue on with this). I'm not sure what kind of blog this will end up becoming....

I do know what is will not become though. This blog will not become a blog where I complain about relationship woes or my hard week or the latest emo song that I listen to that has me wanting to trip myself. This is partly because I do not have relationship woes, my hard weeks are easy compared to most of the world since most of the world doesn't live in the Disney Land we know as North America, and I do not listen to emo music. But even if I do have woes and hardships and....may it never be!!...I actually start listening to emo music, I do not plan to write about that stuff on here. Not that there is anything jejune with writing about that stuff - but that's just not what this blog is going to be about.

I didn't really get into this blogging thing from reading other friends personal blogs - I got into this blogging thing by reading blogs by people like Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Albert Mohler, etc. (And if I could figure out the link thing, then I would post links to their blogs on the side of my blog page :S lol.) So my blogs will probably tend to muse about things like they do, and point out interesting things they say.

I may also post on some interesting events in my life...but it remains to be seen how often I do that...maybe that will happen more often once I get to Sudbury...we'll see....

Basically, I think I'm going to usually post about things that relate to God, His Church, and His Word. After all, I love God even more than women love Oprah. I will probably include a lot of quotes too because I love quotes. Sentences change my life as much as whole books. Once again, these quotes will usually centre around my Christian worldview, not the latest emo song that I have not even listened to.

I think that most of my posts will not ramble on as much as this one....

But like I said, I'm not fully convinced of what this blog will really end up looking like when I look back on it in a year....

For now, let me post a funny paragraph from It is from an April Fool's joke that has been going around the blogs that I follow, but it is completely random and cracks me up. I can't wait 'til the next time I see a squirrel.

"Challies, whom a reporter confronted when he was returning home after walking his son to school this morning, declined to comment. "I decline to comment," he said. When pressed, he merely replied, "Ooo, a squirrel," and went running after a squirrel, giggling all the while. The squirrel got away."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

There Are No Disabled Persons in North Korea

One of the knocks against Christianity is the number of times that people have killed over the religion - such as the Crusades. However, Ravi always points out the number of people that have been killed in the name of athiesm/other false religions is even more massive - think about Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Now check out Al Mohler's blog and think too of North Korea...