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, June 24, 2008

Jesus in China

Amazing story here from the Chicago Tribune that I heard about from Justin Taylor's blog!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Desire for Beauty, Sex, Food, Sleep, etc

One clue that Timothy Keller gives to God's existence is the desires that we all have built into us. We all have desires so the fulfillment of those desires must exist. Not that the desire for a steak dinner means we will necessarily get a steak dinner. But surely the appetite for food in us means that food truly does exist.

He writes, "Isn't it true that innate desires correspond to real objects that can satisfy them, such as a sexual desire (corresponding to sex), physical appetite (corresponding to food), tiredness (corresponding to sleep), and relational desires (corresponding to friendship)?

"Doesn't the unfulfillable longing evoked by beauty qualify as an innate desire? We have a longing for joy, love, and beauty that no amount or quality of food, sex, friendship, or success can satisfy. We want something that nothing in this world can fulfill. Isn't that at least a clue that this "something" that we want exists? This unfulfillable longing, then, qualifies as a deep, innate human desire, and that makes it a major clue that God is there."

To read 2 dozen or so more clues for God's existence check out Alvin Plantiga right here. Keller writes, "Most readers who take the time to think through Plantinga's list will find some items compelling and others not. However, the accumulated weight of the ones you find appealing can be very formidable.

Friday, June 06, 2008


As I have been reading Safely Home, I'm learning more and more about China and thus have been praying more and more for Christians there that are persecuted for being part of the underground church.

A recent section of the book talked about Laogai and explained how China forces political and religious dissidents to do forced labour after being arrested even though they have never had a proper trial or conviction.

One of the documents reads, "The fundamental task of our Laogai facilities is punishing and reforming criminals. To define their function concretely, they fulfill tasks in the following three ways: 1. punishing criminals and putting them under surveillance; 2. reforming criminals; 3. organizing criminals in labor and production, thus creating wealth for society. Our Laogai units are both facilities of dictatorship and special enterprises."

So basically it is a system that provides free forced labour. It gives the government a double incentive to put people (including many Christians whose only crimes is following Jesus) in prison: first, it nullifies resistance to the Party, second, it puts them to work to make money for the Party.

You can learn more about this by typing it into google. One website says:
A Mandarin term, "Laogai" translates literally as "reform-through-labor," but within China, the term has come to have a wider, colloquial meaning. There, the word - no matter the context in which it is uttered - can strike fear in the hearts and minds of average Chinese. Almost everyone in China is related to or knows someone who has served a lengthy sentence in a Laogai camp. Millions know people who simply disappeared into the camps, never to be heard from again.