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.

My Photo
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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

The other day I felt like a kid in a candy store and the reason for that is simply that I was in a candy store and I love candy! (Whenever I go to Top Notch Toys I also slip into the Bulk Barn for minute.)

But then I had that same feeling of excitement today at lunch when I got home and found that three of my newly ordered books had arrived! I'm not sure whether I love board games, candy, or books more...they all give me that "kid in a candy store" or Christmas morning sort of feeling!


Breakout Churches (Discover How to Make the Leap) by Thom S. Rainer
Comeback Churches (How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can Too) by Ed Stetzer
Finally Alive by John Piper

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Love Constraining to Obedience

This is a great hymn from William Cowper that Timothy Keller mentioned in one of his messages. I wish I could learn it on guitar but so far can't quite get it.

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
To hear His pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child
And duty into choice.

1. No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

2. How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.

3. Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do
Now if I feel its power within
I feel I hate it too.

4. Then all my servile works were done,
A righteousness to raise
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Has it ever occured to you that you might be wrong?


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Suprising Fact about Christian Tolerance

According to Maclean's, 72% of Canadians said they have generally favorable view of Christianity. That surprised me. I thought it was going to be much lower than that.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

"McNair struggled to fill void after football"

Interesting article here about McNair and other athletes trying to fill a void in their lives after their careers are over. If only they could realize the void needs to be filled by Christ!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I was reading about pride and humility today in preparing for my sermon and came across this little story that may or may not make it in but is certainly funny!

A young woman asked for an appointment with her pastor to talk with him about a besetting sin about which she was worried. When she saw him, she said, "Pastor, I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at church I begin to look around at the other women, and I realize that I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?"

The pastor replied, "Mary, that's not a sin, why that's just a mistake!"

Labels: ,

Mad-Libbing Church Angst

I'm really looking forward to when this book arrives in the mail.

I found the introduction on Kevin DeYoung's blog today:

If decapitation, from the Latin word caput, means to cut off the head, then it stands to reason that decorpulation, from the Latin word corpus, should refer to cutting off the body. It’s the perfect word to describe the content of this book. If our editors had been asleep at the wheel, we could have called it Recent Trends in Decorpulation. There is a growing movement among self-proclaimed evangelicals and in the broader culture to get spirituality without religion, to find a relationship without rules, and have God without the church. More and more, people are looking for a decorpulated Christianity.

Judging by the popularity of recent books like George Barna’s Revolution and William P. Young’s The Shack and the example of prominent Christians like John Eldredge, there are a lot of Christians who feel like current versions of church just don’t cut it. More than a few have already left their churches, and the number of the disaffected seems to be growing. At the very least the “we want God, not an institution” mantra has struck a chord with many formal, informal, and former churchgoers. So we have books like Life After Church, Divine Nobodies, Dear Church, Quitting Church, and So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, not to mention Frank Viola’s church-as-we-know-it-is-all-wrong book Pagan Christianity and volumes like UnChristian and They Like Jesus but Not the Church, which explore why outsiders are turned off by the church.

The narrative is becoming so commonplace, you could Mad Lib it:

The institutional church is so (pejorative adjective). When I go to church I feel completely (negative emotion). The leadership is totally (adjective you would use to describe Richard Nixon) and the people are (noun that starts with un-). The services are (adjective you might use to describe going to the dentist), the music is (adjective you would use to describe the singing on Barney), and the whole congregation is (choose among: “passive,” “comatose,” “hypocritical,” or “Rush Limbaugh Republicans”). The whole thing makes me (medical term).

I had no choice but to leave the church. My relationship with (spiritual noun) is better than ever. Now I meet regularly with my (relational noun, pl.) and talk about (noun that could be the focus of a liberal arts degree) and Jesus. We really care for each other. Sometimes we even (choose among: “pray for each other,” “feed the homeless together,” or “share power tools”). This is church like it was meant to be. After all, (insert: “Where two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst of you,” or “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life,” or “we don’t have to go to church, we are the church”). I’m not saying everyone needs to do what I’ve done, but if you are tired of (compound phrase that begins with “institutional” or ends with “as-we-know-it”), I invite you to join the (noun with political overtones) and experience (spiritual noun) like you never will by sitting in a (choose among the following architectural put-downs: “wooden pew,” “steepled graveyard,” “stained-glassed mausoleum,” or “glorified concert hall”) week after week. When will the (biblical noun) starting being the (same biblical noun)?

Labels: ,

Love It, Don't Leave It

I like this little article here by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.

Here's the intro:

Here's what Bono, Oprah, and the guru speakers on PBS won't tell you: Jesus believed in organized religion and he founded an institution. Of course, Jesus had no patience for religious hacks and self-righteous wannabes, but he was still Jewish. And as Jew, he read the Holy Book, worshiped in the synagogue, and kept Torah. He did not start a movement of latte-drinking disciples who excelled in spiritual conversations. He founded the church (Matt. 16:18) and commissioned the apostles to proclaim the good news that Israel's Messiah had come and the sins of the world could be forgiven through his death on the cross (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:14-36).

And here's the outro:

Perhaps Christians are leaving the church because it isn't tolerant and open-minded. But perhaps the church-leavers have their own intolerance too--intolerant of tradition, intolerant of authority, intolerant of imperfection except their own. Are you open-minded enough to give the church a chance--a chance for the church to be the church, not a coffee shop, not a mall, not a variety show, not Chuck E. Cheese, not a U2 concert, not a nature walk, but a wonderfully ordinary, blood-bought, Spirit-driven church with pastors, sermons, budgets, hymns, bad carpet and worse coffee?

The Church, because it is Christ's church, will outlive American Idol, the NFL, and all of our grandkids. We won't last, but the Church will. So when it comes to church, be like Jesus: love it, don't leave it. As Saint Calloway once prophesied to the Brothers of Blues, "Jake, you get wise, you get to church."

There's a bit more in the middle if you want to check it out for yourself.

Labels: ,