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, August 29, 2008

3 million....

Very interesting story here. I like that the person remained anonymous but I don't like the lottery system and how is helps poor people stay poor by wasting their money....

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thomas Watson and Prayer

As I was thinking about what to share at the lunchtime prayer meeting today I thought again about giving an encouragement from God's Word to keep on praying and not give. This caused me to look for Thomas Watson's comments on delayed answers to prayer that I remembered reading in a Piper sermon a while back.

Piper wrote,

Thomas Watson, a Puritan pastor from 350 years ago, asked in his book, Body of Divinity, "Why does God delay an answer to prayer?" In other words, why would God ever keep us asking and seeking and knocking when he could respond sooner? He gives four answers (Baker Book House, 1979, pp. 399-400). I give these to you for your pondering as we press on in prayer...

  1. Because he loves to hear the voice of prayer. "You let the musician play a great while before you throw him down money, because you love to hear this music."
  2. That he may humble us. We may too easily assume we merit some ready answer, or that he is at our beck and call like a butler, not as sovereign Lord and loving Father.
  3. Because he sees we are not yet fit or ready for the mercy we seek. It may be he has things to put in place—in us or in our church or in the world. There are a million pieces to the puzzle. Some things go first to make a place for the others.
  4. Finally, that the mercy we pray for may be the more prized, and may be sweeter when it comes.

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Friday, August 22, 2008


I just want to point out that my youngest sister, Kristi, is a better foosball player than Randy or Ben or Bruce or Tim or pretty much any of my other friends. I'm never very worried about losing to anyone, especially not about losing a best of 3 match. But Kristi had me worried every game - and won a few of them!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The New Earth

I really appreciated Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, as I was preparing my sermons on the Present Heaven and on The New Heaven and New Earth. His content and illustrations were excellent. I especially liked his stuff about "It doesn't get any better than this...." near the end of the book, which I paraphrased for my sermon last week:

Have you ever been on a wonderful vacation or sat around a campfire with friends or around a Christmas Dinner with your family and leaned back and said with total satisfaction those enchanting words, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” I’m sure you have, though I know for some of you it may have been years ago and things are so rough right now you can hardly remember. But you have been there, right? Even if just for a moment you have thought, “It couldn’t get any better than this.” Well, that is not true because the most ordinary moment on the New Earth will be greater than the most perfect moments in this life. And just when you are in perfection on the New Earth enjoying some adventure or relaxing with family and friends or part of a worship service or reading a great book or playing a fantastic sport and you sit back and think, “I doesn’t get any better than this” – it will. Everyday will be better than the day before and will keep getting better and better because of our increasing capacity for joy and increasing knowledge of our infinite God. It just makes me want to shout out, “Thank you Lord! I can hardly wait! I can hardly understand why you would welcome me in, but I know you will because Jesus died for my sins! So thank you Lord!”

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Dark Knight

Interesting posts here (and more here) about The Dark Knight.

I think I can relate to and understand Ray saying,

"I learned nothing. I was not enriched in any way.

. . . I’m weary with the world’s disappointing stimulants. I want more of Christ."

But then I also liked Vitamin Z's comments on Ray's Blog and Chris' comments on Justin Taylor's Blog. (I'm sure there were other good comments too but I only ever take time to read the few closest to the top lol.)


Sermon on Heaven

I quoted the old beautiful paragraph from The Last Battle in my sermon conclusion on Sunday. Here it is again for anyone to read:


So in conclusion, let me read you an incredible paragraph. If you have read it before, you will probably agree that it is one of your favourite paragraphs in all of literature. It takes place at the end of The Chronicles of Narnia. At the start of the book Jill and Eustace were traveling on a train when they were suddenly thrust into Narnia. After their amazing adventures in Narnia they are afraid they will be sent back home but Aslan (who is a picture of Christ) tells them this good news:

“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And then here is the beautiful paragraph I want you to hear:

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever; and in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Heaven will be glorious – both the present Heaven that we go to the second we die, and the future New Heavens and New Earth. Our joy will increase daily forever and ever and ever. I can hardly wait. Tears will be wiped away. There will be no more sickness, no more children dying of aids, no more cancer. There will be no more depression. There will be no more struggles with sin. There will be love and joy and peace and perfect fellowship. There will be Jesus Christ in all His glory.

Final Application

Look forward to it and think about it everyday! Remember everyday that if you know Jesus you will go there not because you are a good person but because of God’s incredible grace in having His Son die on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. Remember everyday to set your mind on things above. Remember that there is only one life and it will soon be passed and only what is done for Christ will last. So let us dedicate ourselves afresh today to living for eternity, and to storing up treasures and joys in Heaven by being true disciples who are fully committed to Christ and His church and committed to worshiping God, walking with God, and working for God. I wish I could go on but I must close – so come back next week and bring your friends and we will go on to talk about the final New Heavens and New Earth.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Art Monk

I really liked reading C.J. Mahaney's blog about Art Monk's comments after being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I don't know football enough to know much about Art Monk but I know that his comments were awesome:

"… Getting here did not come without controversy, as I'm sure it did with some of the guys sitting behind me. But through it all, I'm here with a greater appreciation for something that not every player is able to achieve and for the people who stood up for me and spoke out on my behalf. …

What I’ve tried to convey to those who were upset about the process was that I was okay with it. But in all due respect, that as great as this honor is, it’s not what really defines who I am or the things that I’ve been able to accomplish in my life. …

And even now as a Hall of Famer, the one thing I want to make very clear is that my identity and my security is found in the Lord. And what defines me and my validation comes in having accepted his son Jesus Christ as my personal savior. And what defines me is the Word of God, and it’s the Word of God that will continue to shape and mold me into the person that I know he’s called me to be."

C.J. goes on to say, "Art Monk’s words reveal humility, are theologically informed, and are mindful of an eternal perspective (as were Darrell Green’s). From my view in the cheap seats, too many pro athletes who profess Christ appear theologically ignorant, have little or no involvement in the local church, and have no pastoral oversight in their lives. Monk’s speech appears to be the fruit of good pastoring. If more professional athletes participated in churches where sound doctrine was taught, there might be more examples like Art Monk and Darrell Green."

You can read more of what Art and C.J. had to say right here.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Back from Vacation

Averil and I were on holidays the last couple weeks and had a great time. The best part was getting to go to Camp and hang out with family - it's too bad they live so far away. Going to Canada's Wonderland was a lot of fun as well. Another highlight was the fact that I had lots of time to relax and read. I read a fantastic book that I'd heard about before but never knew was so awesome. The books is The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. Wow! What an excellent book! I had heard about it before and used to criticize it even though I had never read it and had no idea what I was talking's just hip to be critical when you are dumb I guess. But hopefully I'm growing up and will learn not to be so critical about things I've never even read. Another highlight was Andrew and Nadine staying over on Sunday Night - it is always great to see them, and again, it's too bad they live so far away.

So it is back to work for me today and I must say it is nice to enjoy your work and enjoy going back to the office! I love serving in our church and being a part of our church. On holidays it was nice to visit some other churches but both Averil and I always left them thinking about how we missed Lansing. Maybe we are biased but I don't know....:)

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