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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Epic Struggle

I finished a book the other day called, "Dalit Freedom: Now and Forever" and subtitled "The Epic Struggle for Dalit Emancipation."

How I got the book was really cool. I've emailed a couple times with George Verwer and in his last email he told me that he would like to send me his books so he wanted to know what my mailing address was. Then last week in the mail I received several books from him: 3 of his own, one by Randy Alcorn, one called True Grit that I already had but will pass on to someone else, and this one about the Dalits by Joseph D'souza. What a great guy George is to have given me all these books!! I emailed him to thank him, but George if you ever read my blog, let it be known that I want to thank you publicly as well. I already thought you were one of the best men in the world, and I now I know that you are also extremely generous. Thank you.

The book helped to open my eyes to the plight of the Dalits. Probably no one will read this book (though if you want to I will happily give it to!) but I think we would all do well to get aware of the Dalit people in India. A good website to look at quickly would be Dalit Awakening or Dalit Freedom. Dalit Freedom is the website connected to the book. Dalit Awakening is a GFA website.

Let me share just one little story out of the book to give you a small idea of past and present Dalit persecution. Guruammal's only crime is that she was born a Dalit.

"I am a 26-year-old Dalit agricultural laborer. I earn 20 rupees per day (US $0.44) for a full day's work. In December 1997, the police raided my village . . . The superintendent of police [SP] called me a pallachi, which is a caste name for prostitute. He then opened his pants (zipper) . . . At 11:00 am, the sub-collector came. I told the collector that the SP had opened his (zipper) and used a vulgar word. I also told him that they had broken my silver pot. The SP was angry that I had pointed him out . . .

"The next morning the police broke all the doors and arrested all the men in the village . . . The SP came looking for me. My husband hid under the [bed]. My mother was with me at the time. I was in my night clothes. The police started calling me a prostitute and beating me. The SP dragged me naked on the road for 100 feet. I was four months pregnant at the time . . . A 60 year old woman asked them to stop. They beat here too and fractured her hands . . . They brought me to the police station naked . . . 53 men had been arrested. One of them took off his lungi [warp around cloth] and gave it to me to cover myself.

"I begged the police officers at the jail to help me. I even told them I was pregnant. They mocked me for making such bold statements the day before. I spent 25 days in jail. I miscarried my baby after 10 days. Nothing has happened to the police officers who did this to me."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"She puts the 'cult' in pop culture"

Many of us are very familiar with that great line in the What If His People Prayed song by Casting Crowns which says, "What if the family turned Jesus - stopped asking Oprah what to do?"

Mark Driscoll's latest blog is a really good quick read about Oprah.

Here is his conclusion:

"Oprah seems to be a contradiction perfectly suited for a confused world of pluralism. She is a billionaire who speaks passionately about the pain and suffering in the world from the comforts of her sheltered life. She is among the most beloved icons of mothers yet she has never had any children. Many viewers tune in to learn how to improve their marriages yet she has never been married. And, she speaks of spiritual matters often and has an entire segment of her show titled "spirit," which makes you wonder which spirit she’s referring to."

Read the whole thing right here: Is Oprah a Cult Leader?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Best Song Ever?

The other day I remembered what I think is my favourite song of all time. That might sound strange because if it is my favourite song of all time then why do I forget about it for months at a time? I guess I forget because I don't have a copy of it. But even though I don't have a copy of it I can listen to it any time I want because the music video is freely streamed off the internet. The song is not by Petra or the Cross Movement or Steven Curtis Chapman or any other of my very favourite bands. The song is by a band that is not too well known called The Smalltown Poets. The song is Prophet, Priest, & King. Check out the music video. Isn't it great? (And by it I mean the song/lyrics not necessarily the video...but the video is fun in it's own way! lol)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gospel For Asia Visit

I stopped in at the Gospel For Asia Canadian office this weekend in Stoney Creek. It was really great to see the place and meet some of the Canadian staff and talk about their ministry with Faye Leytham, whom I talked to through email before and who met me and showed me around. The building is a beautiful building that used to belong to the Salvation Army. There are about a dozen offices for the dozen or so people who work fulltime with Gospel For Asia as the Canadian representatives. These staff members serve as a vital link between the thousands of Canadians and the Asian army of missionaries that those Canadians sponsor in Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, and other South East Asian countries. It was great to see what everyone does each day and to hear about the great focus and priority that praying together (for at least an hour every morning) is.

Another awesome part of the visit was to see that all throughout the building, in every hallway and room, are pictures of the Gospel For Asia missionaries praying/talking/baptizing people. Very moving pictures.

The book room was a highlight too. Faye showed me the book shelf of books that they get new staff members of Gospel For Asia to read when they come on staff. There were many incredible books there. Some that jumped out at me were "The Church is Bigger Than You Think" by Patrick Johnstone which I really hope to read someday soon (and which I think has a cool title! lol), "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis, and two copies of the great "Let the Nations Be Glad!" by John Piper. There were probably over 50 other books as well which I'm sure were awesome books that I would love to get ahold of someday.

Gospel For Asia really excites me so much! It was so cool to see their Canadian office. Someday I could see myself working there because I love the ministry so much and believe in it so strongly. In the meantime though, I will continue to be a part of that ministry unofficially by praying and sponsoring, and doing what I can to introduce my friends to it. I would love to introduce you all to the great book, "Revolution in World Missions" by K.P. Yohannan, so if you don't have it then let me know and I will give you a copy, or you can order it for free online anytime.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Triad of the Week V

Mainly I just love Christian music. But I have a soft spot for some country songs, especially this one. I especially love italicized line, but I love the whole entire song. And every time I hear this song I pray that Brad Paisley will realize he is a sinner and will repent and put his faith in Christ so that he does indeed get to stand forever in the light God's amazing grace.

Song of the Week

When I Get Where I'm Going

by Brad Paisley

When I get where I'm going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly
I'm gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here

I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I'll hug his neck


So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can't answer
So much work to do
But when I get where I'm going
And I see my Maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm going
Yeah when I get where I'm going

Quote of the Week:

“If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?” - John Piper

Implied Answer: If you could, you do not know Christ and you are not going to heaven.

Verse of the Week:

Revelation 7:16-17, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, not any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every year from their eyes."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Some Thoughts

I've been thinking lots lately about the place of high academic study in the life of a Christian. I can't possibly count the number of times that I have heard my Heritage Professors say that every Pastor needs to know the original languages of the Bible. They say that this is non-negotiable. John Piper also says in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (chapter 12) that Pastors should all know the original languages so that the people doing the scholarly interpretation of difficult passages aren't just scholars who are one step removed from dealing with people. I have to respond at this point saying to my profs (some of whom I like) and to John Piper (who I most certainly like) that I respectfully disagree. The languages are just a picture of the larger issue which is the issue of scholarly higher education. If some of my profs had their way then every Pastor would be a Doctor (I say some because I know that Dr. Howson has said that he disagrees with this.) But I think it is silly for every Pastor to be a Doctor and though it would be nice for every Pastor to know Greek and Hebrew and to be a great Bible scholar who can argue about and write papers about whether or not Isaiah is one big whole or two separate books, I think it is not always necessary.

I just can't stand all the ivory tower talk that goes on in academic circles. It's ridiculous. For example, the amount of time that is spent studying and the amount of books that are written on the End Times is sick. I say it's sick because I can't help but think of Oswald J. Smith's famous (at least famous among missionaries but maybe not among scholars) quote where he says, "We talk of the second coming; half the world has never heard of the first." What are all of the scholars who debate the second coming saying in response to Oswald J. Smith? Or have they, in all their studies, never come across this quote? Unless I'm going to become a prof who trains Pastor's I can't imagine devoting a whole ton of time and effort to issues like this when nearly 2 billion people never have heard about Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I'm so very very glad that God calls some people to be scholars and deal with the tough and debated questions. But I'm just saying that not everyone needs to be anything close to a scholar.

I read D.L. Moody the other day say, "I don't see why you men are talking about two Isaiahs - half the people in the country do not know that there is one Isaiah yet. Let's make them know about one, before we begin to tell them about two." Moody was practically illiterate, and there are tons of other great men and women whom God has used down through the ages that did not know things like Greek and Hebrew.

I'm thankful for the scholars, but we don't all have to be one. I think of Martin Luther King Jr. saying, "Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love."

I just want to serve and teach the things that really matter for everyone in their daily life and disciple people. I don't need to be able to personally respond to every single one of Pinnock's crazy claims. I don't need to personally notice Rick Warren's misuse of the Greek because I know the original languages so well. I'm thankful for the scholars, but when God calls Pastors He calls them to serve and love and shepherd the people, not to be tied with every scholar for the greatest scholar in the world. There is such a danger of ivory tower nonsense that comes with the territory of a scholar too. The perspicuity of Scripture enables a child to believe so we should spend more time reaching out to the street children in Bombay and less time studying in our ivory towers - at least most of us should.

And I feel that I can say this because unlike many people who might say similar things, I do work hard and do get good marks and I do like school and I do enjoy studying. I'm not writing this as an excuse to be lazy. The people that are failing their Bible School classes while they want to become Pastors certainly should study more than they do. But I've never come anywhere near failing a class, and I love to study and would even like to know Greek well. But if it were to come down to a choice between using my time to disciple people or pray or earn money to send to Missionaries or just hang out and build godly relationships and build into peoples lives or to study Greek, studying Greek will not make the cut.

I'm glad for the scholars and I thank God for people who have tackled all the hard questions. But they are just one part of the Body of Christ, and not all of us should take the time to study stuff so deeply.

Maybe I'll change my opinion when I get all old and wise and grown up...but until then, this is where I stand.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I know that only a select number of people who visit my blog will catch how funny this is...but I just had to link to it for the few of you who may not have noticed the link to it on Adrian Warnock's blog today: T4G Book Give-aways That the Committee Rejected.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Triad of the Week IV

This Triad of the Week goes out to all my Heritage friends who just graduated with me (as well as those of your who still have a year or two until you graduate). It's exciting to be done!! But it's too bad that this means that the road divides as we go our seperate ways. We'll see each other again every once in a while, but it won't be like it was this past year...until that truly will be a wonderful Day when we all say "Hello Again".

Song of the Week

Pray For Me
by Michael W. Smith

Here is where the road divides
Here is where we realize
The sculpting of the Father's great design
Thru' time you've been a friend to me
But time is now the enemy
I wish we didn't have to say goodbye
But I know the road He chose for me
Is not the road he chose for you
So as we chase the dreams we're after

Pray for me and I'll pray for you
Pray that we will keep the common ground
Won't you pray for me and I'll pray for you
And one day love will bring us back around again

Painted on our tapestry
We see the way it has to be
Weaving thru' the laughter and the tears
But love will be the tie that binds us
To the time we leave behind us
Memories will be our souvenirs
And I know that thru' it all
The hardest part of love is letting go
But there's a greater love that holds us

Quote of the Week

John Calvin: "To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them."

Verse of the Week

Ephesians 6:19: "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Girl Talk

I've added a new blog to my section of Blogs that I recommend reading. The blog is "Girl Talk". Yes, Girl Talk. No, I don't read it daily. But if I were a girl I would and if you are a girl you should. Even as I guy I think it is a good blog. So check it out, and tell your girl friends too as well.

I especially recommend the blogs from April about a Godly Woman's Fashion, etc.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

"Those who talk like this—“Christ unites, doctrine divides”—have simply replaced propositions about Christ with the word “Christ.” It carries no meaning until one says something about him. They think they have done something profound and fresh, when in fact, they have done something very old and stale and deadly."

I first heard Piper say that several months ago when I listened to his biography of Athanasius. Then I heard it again this afternoon while listening to him preach a message called "Toward Spiritual Awakening and Unity." Then I heard it at the beginning of this promo trailer to the upcoming Desiring God National Conference. The trailer made me tingle. Check it: Above All Earthly Powers.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Triad of the Week III

Quote of the Week

Mark Dever: "Why is it in so many of our churches it is unusual to see someone giving their all to follow Christ, and growing in him?" (HT Justin Taylor)

Verse of the Week

Psalm 42:1: "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God."

Song of the Week

The Thirst is Taking Over
by Skillet

You alone are what my soul needs
You know the thirst is taking over
Hardly breathe, I'm in urgent need
You know the thirst is taking over

The thirst is taking over

Hold me down, hold me down
Drip it on my tongue
And my convulsions stop
Thirst for love, thirst for your love
I could swallow your beauty whole

Running out, times running out
Searching for the one who can conquer me
I'm going to scream aloud, throw it down
Crash in the sweet obsession of You
I'm going to swim and drown in the wake of You

The thirst is taking over
I wanna taste it
I need to taste it
Deep in the Saviors arms

I wanna drink You in
I am drinking You in
I wanna drink You in

Hardly breathe, I'm in urgent need
You know the thirst is taking over
The thirst is taking over

I wanna taste it
I need to taste it
Deep in the Saviors arms