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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spring Folly

Spring Folly was certainly an awesome weekend! I think that if I had to pick just one retreat out of all the retreats we go on throughout the year, I would probably pick Spring Folly. Although I love Fall Retreat too....and I love Winter Camp too. So it would be a difficult choice, but Spring Folly was really great!

I think the highlights for me (in no particular order) were:

1. Steve Tulloch's Messages. They were excellent! I really appreciated the apologetic element of them and the fact that they were centered totally and completely around Jesus.

2. The Bible Quizzing. Our team of Amy, Laura, Chrissy, Jason, and Chelsea did awesome (3rd place out of 6 teams and it was their first time in the comp (that's slang for competition :p)! It was a joy to get to watch them!

3. Story Time With Steve. I enjoyed his stories at the start of his messages, and his stories during the Coffee House. He is a funny guy!

4. The Dramatic Dance that ended the Coffee House. It was about a girl who stops dancing with Jesus and starts dancing with a boy who doesn't love Jesus, with money, with eating disorders, with depression, and almost with suicide. She finally comes to her senses and tries to run back to Jesus but all the distractions hold her back until Jesus comes and rescues her from them. Wow. Powerful moment. Powerful....

5. And everything else...ball hockey, basketball, bladderball, the concert, the worship music, playing ping pong, hanging out with was really a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Awesome Tuesday

I have to say that the highlight for me of our Youth/Young Adults Tuesday Night Worship yesterday was the Quiz team! Yes, I also enjoyed singing praises with the rocking worship music (wow that was a full stage last night...) and hearing Mark Hall's testimony, and eating cake and hanging out with everyone, but the highlight was hearing the Quiz team recite Colossians word-for-word. Wow! Jason, Amy, Laura, Chrissy, and Chelsea, you all rock. Way to go. And Margaret, you rock too for leading them and patiently encouraging them to keep going and to memorize it so well - and for memorizing the entire thing yourself!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do Hard Things

I like Alex and Brett Harris' blog. Here is a great recent blog/article from them: Check it out.

Friday, April 11, 2008


This morning Pastor Jack and I watched the 7th Session of The Way of the Master Basic Training Course. It was so good. Kirk and Ray talked about the folly of the modern method of evangelism that tells people, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." This makes people think that they should pray and prayer to make their life successful by their own standards - money, health, etc. and it does not lead to people actually coming to the Saviour in repentance and faith for salvation and a wonderful eternal life. Not that using those words, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" is a totally wrong thing to do. It's just very incomplete. I really prefer the way Ray and Kirk share the gospel to the way the 4 Spiritual Laws does.

But it will not do to just discuss how good the DVD was and how good the Training Session is. I must put it into practice much more often than I currently do.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

C.S. Lewis

Many books that I read seem to quote The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. So I decided to skim through some of my old highlighting from when I read the Screwtape Letters last year. (The letters, for those of you who do not know, are letters that Lewis writes as though they are written from a senior demon to a junior demon.)

One quote that jumped out at me was this:

"Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches."

The Bible talks about schemes of the devil (for example Ephesians 6:11)....I wish would all stand firm against this scheme.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tim Keller

I heard Tim Keller speak at the Desiring God National Conference a couple years ago and it was a great message. So I'm excited to get his book, The Reason For God, in the mail soon. I've also been excited to listen to a couple of his talks given at Universities as part of the release of his book. One I listened to a couple of Saturdays ago was very interesting and good - I especially liked his comments about the so-called "Problem of Evil".

Keller basically said that no serious philosophers use the "Problem of Evil" to try to disprove God's existence anymore. The reason for this is that Alvin Plantinga has given an answer to the problem that no other philosopher can refute. Here is how it goes.

The argument:

If God is all powerful and all good, why is there so much meaningless suffering in the world?

The fact that there is so much meaningless suffering in the world proves that there is no God. (Doesn't it?)

The answer:

Just because we cannot see a good reason for there being so much suffering in the world does not mean that there is no good reason for it. God is smarter than us and He may have a reason for suffering that we cannot see since we are not God. There you go. Problem solved. :)

He gives a story to go along with it that goes like this:

Suppose I had a tent and asked someone to come and look inside it to tell me if there are any dogs in it. If someone looks inside the tent and saw that there was no dogs, we could pretty much be sure that there are no dogs in the tent. But what if I asked the same person to look inside the tent to tell me if there are any no-see-ums (those nasty little bugs that are so small you can't see them) in the tent. If someone looks in the tent and says that there are no no-see-ums in the tent, can we all be sure that there are no no-see-ums in the tent? Of course not. Even if there were, we cannot see them. Similarly, just because we look at suffering in general, or one particular case of suffering, and cannot see any reason for God allowing it, it does not mean that there are no good reasons for it. God can see no-see-ums, and God can see reasons for allowing what He allows.

Of course, that takes care of the philosophical problem. The emotional problem is deeper in many ways - but God answers that too. See this article.