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.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Good Quote

"Today I was bored so I went outside and dug up clay from my sandbox, mixed it with water and made a circle." - Jason Elford

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Biblical Model of Giving

I'm very interested in knowing what the Bible says about giving because I think this world would be quite a bit different if we actually did what the Bible says. Justin Taylor posted the following blog which I have copied and pasted in hopes that you will read it. I don't know David Croteau at all but I do know and like Andreas Kostenberger so when I see his name I especially think it is worth reading. I haven't read the actual article yet, just the blog, but then, aren't summaries of articles great. :p lol

In these two articles (published in the Bulletin of Biblical Research) Andreas Kostenberger and David Croteau provide an extensive examination of whether Christians are obligated to tithe--that is, given ten percent of their income--under the new covenant. They conclude that "the view that Christians are required to give at least ten percent of their income lacks adequate support from the biblical data. This is not to say that Christians are not required to give, but that no Scripture commands a certain percentage as the minimum giving requirement."

I find their exegetical arguments persuasive. Unfortunately, some people resist such an examination for they infer that this is motivated by a desire to give less, or at least will result in less giving in the church. The authors plead "not guilty" to the first charge, and even suggest that perhaps giving would increase if the arguments were more biblical.

They go on to survey the NT perspective on giving and suggest that our giving should be...

Systematic: Give on a regular basis, that is, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc. (1 Cor. 16:1).

Proportional: Give as you have been prospered; according to your ability (1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8:2–3)

Sacrificial/generous: Give generously, even sacrificially, but not to the point of personal affliction (2 Cor 8:2–3;Phil 4:17–18)

Intentional: Give deliberately in order to meet a genuine need, not out of guilt merely to soothe a pressing request (2 Cor 8:4; Phil 4:16)

Properly motivated: Our motivation for giving should be love for others (2 Cor. 8:9), a desire for reciprocity (1 Cor 9:14–15; 2 Cor 8:12–14; cf. Gal 6:6), and an eye to the reward from God (2 Cor 9:6)

Cheerful: God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7)

Voluntary: Giving ought to be done out of one’s free volition (2 Cor 8:2–3, 8; 9:7; Phil 4:18)

Finally, they offer the following quotes, which I pass along for your consideration:

Craig Blomberg: “[t]he standard Paul exhorts us to follow is actually a more stringent one than the traditional tithe. If most affluent Western Christians were to be honest about the extent of their surplus, they would give considerably higher than 10% to Christian causes.”

Walter Kaiser: “if a tenth was the minimal amount under the Law, how can Christians do any less? Perhaps we should consider not how little but how much we can give, seeing how richly blessed we are in Christ.”

Saturday, June 24, 2006


This song moves me....

Civilian by Da' T.R.U.T.H.

Hook 2X
I'm a civilian—
My feet are planted
I'm on this planet
But cannot get too attached to this life

'Cause I'm a pilgrim—
And so I'm building
Fulfilling the great commission
My eyes are fixed on the Christ

Verse 1
We on a roll
Tonic told me to write from my soul
And not to think about the reviews
Or the albums I sold

And so I did that
Laid back, prayed, got my focus right
Thought about what the culture needs
Not just what the culture likes

Thought about the youth of the church
And got depressed like
Man, they only want what they see
Look at their appetites

They only crave
For what satisfies for the moment
They can’t see past their noses
Ain’t thinking about the afterlife

Man, they don't want God
They want 50 Cent
They don't even want Christian rappers
At least not if he spends

Most of his time on stage
Bragging about God and His ways
They really want
The gods of this age

And so they're bored
When they sit in church
You see them slumped in their seats—half asleep
Simply ignoring the literature

They want the counterfeit
Like forging a signature
Man, they don't care
About the Lord and His worth—‘cause


Verse 2
I get so tired
Of reading men in the Bible
Then coming up for air
Looking around—I can't find nobody like them

Sister girl’s eye is on
Buying the next item
Ya'll know we're in the age
Where idleness is an idol

Man, we need revival
Ambassador told me
To meet him in the kitchen
‘Cause dude, look at their diet

It’s sweets all week long
And I ain’t talking about junk food
I'm talking about
What they’re really desiring

Xbox, videos
Girls paint their pretty toes
You know the type
That can’t fall asleep till the city dozes

Slaves to their cell phones
Or maybe over a friend’s
Watching Ray Liotta on HBO

My generation can’t be still
Or sit calm
They skip Psalms
To go to the bedroom and watch sitcoms

Now, I know
That we exist in a tension
I just wish
that we would switch our affection—I know the fight


Verse 3
Ever since the advent
Of the steam engine
Man, it almost seems like
Yahweh lost the redeemed's interest

To iPods, Internet
Our God's infinite
Kids ain’t a bit impressed
Parents don't get it yet

And some of our pastors don't get it yet
Man, they think it's enough
If the kids are getting crunked
So they keep throwing skate parties and concerts

So, the kids know P. Diddy and Fonzworth
But nothing about God's worth
And that's a problem Houston
Let's not confuse it—part of God’s solution is

The older scooping the younger up
Hoping to produce a hunger
For righteousness in their souls
Discipleship is the goal

I pray that the generation
That likes to listen to Hov
Would turn to the Lord Jesus Christ
To lift up their souls

Above the surface
I pray we would know His worth
And prefer the things of God
Over what is bound to the earth


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll gets a lot of blog-press where I read. And he is a household name at youth and among other friends. I think that everyone who likes him so much would enjoy and do well to read this blog interview with him found here.

One of my favourite answers:

"I learn a lot from Dr. John Piper, D. A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, and Tim Keller. The dead guys I like tend to be Puritans and early church fathers. I also am a huge Spurgeon fan, and read every biography I can get on him. I love biographies and learn from the lives of Calvin, Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, Patrick, etc."

No wonder he has such good things to say yo.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Whenever I notice a headline in the news that mentions Jesus Christ, I get interested. So when I saw the title "Jesus Christ Superman" the other day, I certainly was curious.

The articles notes how people have been comparing Superman to Jesus Christ. The new Superman Returns movie apparently has all kinds of imagery in it that relates Superman to Christ.

I guess one of the reasons for this is to create hype in the media and get the large Christian population behind the movie in order to make money off of us. Fair enough. But I wonder if there is a deeper reason. I understand that John Eldredge's book, Epic, he explores the "Larger Story." He says, "Think of all those movies you’ve ever loved, the stories that have stirred your heart – there’s a reason they move you so. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young. It is a breathtaking story, and you play a crucial role."

Now, I'm not a big fan of John Eldredge (some people that I love and respect like him a lot, and some people that I love and respect give his books horrible reviews - I lean towards thinking that his books are not worth reading, but that there is more good in them than some of his critics will admit but that's a whole different topic. I've only ever read Wild at Heart and have little knowledge of his other books sp O can't say much...The Journey of Desire I read a bit of but thought it wasn't worth my time...maybe if I picked it up again I'd feel differently...who knows....)


I wonder if the reason that Superman relates so well to Christ is because they have made a story about a hero which is really just a shaddow of the real Hero named Jesus Christ. I wonder of Eldredge is onto something in saying that the reason we love movies like Superman is because there is something inside of us that longs for a real hero and that longing is supposed to point us to Christ.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Knowing You Jesus

This weekend I had a song stuck in my head...a song called Knowing You Jesus...a song that we "coincidentally" happened to sing at Church on Sunday night. A song that I had not heard for a long time until Sunday night. I don't know how it got in my head on the weekend because I can't even remember the last time I sang it previous to last night.

I think the lyrics are pretty rich.

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss,
Spent and worthless now compared to this.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.

Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and know as Yours,
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh to know the power of Your risen life,
And to know You in Your sufferings;
To become like You in Your death, my Lord,
So with You to live and never die.

I love how it this is a Christian Hedonist kind of a song (like a number of songs that we sing, if you really think about it). It says that everything is worthless compared to knowing Jesus - in other words, if we are looking for joy, we had better look to Christ because nothing else satisfies. And of course the chorus says that Jesus is my joy and that there is no greater thing than Him. Sounds very hedonistic to me.

And I love how true the song is. Knowing Jesus really is the best thing in life once He has been tasted and seen.

I wonder how honestly we sing the last verse. Do we really want to suffer and to become like Christ in our death?

This song makes me think too of the address that Piper gave to The Evangelical Theological Society for their fiftieth anniversary annual meeting in 1998 where his job was to talk about training the next generation of Pastors and Missionaries and the thesis of his message was "Knowing God and Enjoying Him is the Greatest Need".

Speaking of Piper, he really made me laugh today. I listened to a couple sermons of his from 1987 and in one sermon he made me laugh even more than Mark Driscoll made me laugh in his latest vodcast that I watched this afternoon on Paying Your Pastors. Piper made me laugh because he said, "I took my four sons to the Twins [baseball] game on Friday night...pretty good game...I took a book along to read...." hahahaha!! That's what I'll do next time I go see the Jays play! What a great idea!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


So I have never seen the show that everyone in the world has seen called "24". Even though many friends have told me how great it is, I have never gotten into it because I don't watch much TV other than sports and didn't want to get hooked on this show just cause it is the hip thing to do. But now I'm interested in it. Why the change? The change comes from another great blog by Mark Driscoll. The post is entitled "Is Jack Bauer a Type of Christ?" and would prolly be a very interesting post for all the 24 fans out there to read. And even more interesting for all the Jesus fans out there to read!

It seems to me like I can't create a link for some reason right now. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm on a Mac using Safari instead of at home on my PC using Explorer. There is just no buttom to press to create a I'll post the address like this:

So I still don't think I will watch 24 cause I'm not about to rent all the DVDs to catch up on what's happening. But if you've seen 24 I'd be interested to talk with you about it to see what you think of Driscoll's post.