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, May 29, 2009

"It's the Church, stupid"

I don't like everything Paul Washer says but I sure like lots of it. Powerful stuff. In his message called 10 Indictments, he says some great stuff. You can check it out here.

I particularly appreciate indictment #5 and #6.

Fifth indictment: An ignorance regarding the doctrine of Regeneration.

Sixth indictment: Ignorance regarding the nature of the Church.

Here is some of what he says under indictment #6:

God has only one religious institution. It is the Church. It is the Church. And our ultimate goal and the ultimate product of revival will be the planting of biblical churches....

Several years ago Bill Clinton had a slogan during the election. “It is the economy, stupid.”

My pastor, Jeff Noblett, one of the elders in our church, the primary teaching,
preaching pastor, he said to me one day, he goes, “You know, I’d like to have a bunch of shirts made up.”

“What would they say, brother Jeff?”

“It’s the Church, stupid.”

Jesus gave his life for the Church, a beautiful virgin, pristine Church. If you want to give your life for something in the ministry, give it to the Church, to a church, a body of believers, a local congregation. It is the Church.

Now let me say this about the Church. I want you to listen well. There is not a remnant
of believers in the Church. We all know about the remnant theology, you know, that throughout all the course of Israel there was Israel the people of God and a remnant of true believers. That is not true about the Church. There is not a remnant of believers or a small group of believers inside a larger group called the Church. The Church is the remnant.

And I want to say this. If pastors have ever come to close to blaspheming it is with regard to this. I hear theologians, itinerant teachers, pastors, this and that saying these sorts of things. “There is just as much sin in the Church as out of the Church. There is just as much divorce in the Church as out of the Church. There is just as much immorality and pornography in the Church as out of the Church.” And then preachers say, “Yes, the Church is acting like a whore.” I want you to know this. You ought to be very careful calling the bride of Jesus Christ a whore. I will tell you what the problem is. Pastors and preachers don’t know what the Church is. I want you to know that the Church of Jesus Christ in America is beautiful. She is frail at times. She is weak. She is buffeted. She is not perfect, but I want you to know she is broken. She is humbly walking with her God. The problem with you is you don’t know what the Church is.

Today because of the lack of biblical preaching the so called Church is filled up with carnal, wicked people identified with Christianity. And then because of all the goats in the midst of the lambs, the lambs are blamed for all the things the goats are doing and then the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of us.


Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Caller 7

I started as caller 10 and now I'm caller 7 so while on hold for the last 10 minutes I've been doing some blog reading. I'm liking Paul Tripp. At the Desiring God blog they asked him this:

What is the greatest hindrance to cultivating community in the American church?

The first thing that comes to mind is frenetic western-culture busyness.

I read a book on stress a few years back, and the author made a side comment that I thought was so insightful. He said that the highest value of materialistic western culture is not possessing. It's actually acquiring.

If you're a go-getter you never stop. And so the guy who is lavishly successful doesn't quit, because there are greater levels of success. "My house could be bigger, I could drive better cars, I could have more power, I could have more money."

And so we've bought an unbiblical definition of the good life of success. Our kids have to be skilled at three sports and play four musical instruments, and our house has to be lavish by whatever standard. And all of that stuff is eating time, eating energy, eating money. And it doesn't promote community.

I think often that even the programs of a local church are too sectored and too busy. As if we're trying to program godliness. And so the family is actually never together because they're all in demographic groupings. Where do we have time where we are pursuing relationships with one another, living with one another, praying with one another, talking with one another?

I've talked to a lot of families who literally think it's a victory to have 3 or 4 meals all together with one another in a week, because they're so busy. Well, if in that family unit they're not experiencing community, there's no hope of them experiencing it outside of that family unit.

We have families that will show up at our church on Sunday morning with the boys dressed in their little league outfits, and I know what's going to happen. They're going to leave the service early. Now what a value message to that little boy! Do I think little league is bad? I don't think it's bad at all. I think it's great. But they're telling him what's important as they do that.

You can't fit God's dream (if I can use that language) for his church inside of the American dream and have it work. It's a radically different lifestyle. It just won't squeeze into the available spaces of the time and energy that's left over.

And I'm as much seduced by that as anybody. We have sold our four-bedroom house because our kids are gone, and we've bought a loft in Chinatown, Philadelphia. And we're amazed at how simple our life has become. We're grieving over how we let our life get so complicated.

Last year, for example, I put almost $2,500 worth of gas in my car. This year, I've put $159 in the first quarter. It's because we're walking places, and that slows our life down, and we're near the people in our church because we're within walking distance of the church. And we've had so many natural encounters with people because of that.

We're living in a much smaller place. We got rid of most of our stuff. As we went through it, we laughed about how we just collected stuff. All that stuff has to be maintained. It grabs your heart, it grabs your schedule, it grabs your time. It becomes a source of worry and concern and need to pay.

So we've just been confronted with how all of those things that aren't evil in themselves become the complications of life that keep us away from the kind of community that we need in order to hold on to our identity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Sermon Jams are awesome! Check out these couple of John Piper sermon jams.

Make War!

Treasuring Him

(Sermon jams are short clips of preaching put to sweet jams and beats.)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

viva la vida and love story

My sister-in-law, Ashley, brought my attention to this sweet piece of music. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's Just the Truth

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Augustine Battles Lust and Fights for Joy

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Different Standards

"How different our standard is from Christ's. We ask how much a man gives. Christ asks how much he keeps." - Andrew Murray


Friday, May 01, 2009

Family and Strangers

I liked this email that Kari sent me. I didn't take time to read it at first but I'm glad I did this afternoon. (I just took off the silly part at the end about forwarding it to seven people to be blessed haha)


I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
'Oh excuse me please' was my reply.

He said, 'Please excuse me too;
I wasn't watching for you.'

We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
'Move out of the way,' I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said,

'While dealing with a stranger,
common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You'll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.'

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
'Wake up, little one, wake up,' I said.

'Are these the flowers you picked for me?'
He smiled, 'I found 'em, out by the tree.

I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.
I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue.'

I said, 'Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn't have yelled at you that way.'
He said, 'Oh, Mom, that's okay.
I love you anyway.'

I said, 'Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.'

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company
that we are working for could easily replace us in
a matter of days.
But the family we left behind will feel the loss
for the rest of their lives.

And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more
into work than into our own family,
an unwise investment indeed,
don't you think?
So what is behind the story?