All posts by Alfred Toole

Alfred Toole graduated from the University of Virginia with a double major in English and Religious studies. He began working with teenagers while still in High school at the Dale City church of Christ and continued his passion when he arrived at UVA with the Rugby Avenue church of Christ. Alfred came to us as a summer intern in 1999 and has been here ever since. He currently works as a Technology Educator at Charlottesville High School. He enjoys football, spades, singing, teaching, coaching, drawing, movies and tennis. His favorite movies are Rudy, Glory, Rocky III and The Program. His favorite Bible passage is Matthew 5.13-16. His favorite worship songs include: “Here I am to Worship,” “Shout to the Lord,” “Follow Me,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “10,000 Reasons,” and “Whom Shall I Fear.” Alfred loves to hear the crinkling sound of bible pages turning as well as the buzz of fellowship when the church interacts together. On his tombstone, he wants written. “Here lies the stone sunk–that caused all those ripples.” He married his wife Angie in 2007. They have 3 boys.

Does Your Faith Amaze Jesus?

Man hanging from a branch. Article by Michael Jones Waynesboro church of Christ

Title: Do you amaze Jesus?

By: Michael Jones

A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued: “Is anyone up there?” “I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?” “Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer.” “That’s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch.” A moment of pause, then: “Is anyone else up there?” (Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 3.)   Has your faith ever been tested? Did you pass? There is something about faith. Some celebrate it while others ridicule it, but no matter what people think or say about it, there is something powerful about faith. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) To many in the world, faith in God is seen as childish, but to those who have a faith in God and His Son, faith is absolutely beautiful. If you have a strong faith in God, then you have a treasure. Friend, there is something about faith. How is your faith? Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV)   There are those in this world who may think I’m a fool for having faith, but without it, I cannot possibly please God. Faith is vital. How is your faith? Is it growing? These are important questions to consider, because when life has you hanging by a branch, doubts can begin to creep in. It is in these times that our faith can be shaken, and if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves taking our eyes off of Jesus and calling out, “Is anyone else up there?”   If you read the first four books of the New Testament, you will quickly find that Jesus was thrilled when he encountered a person of faith. You will also notice that he rewarded faith (see Matthew 9:20-22, 27-30; Matthew 15:21-28). However, when Jesus encountered a lack of faith, it frustrated him greatly (see Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 16:9-14). I believe we see these reactions from Jesus because he knew the potential of faith in the life of a believer. He knew the doors that could be opened through faith, but he also knew that a lack of faith would slam those doors shut.

With that in mind, I have a question for you: “Do you amaze Jesus?”

Look at what we find in Matthew 8:5-10: “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (NIV)   Jesus was amazed at this man’s faith, and you too can amaze Jesus? However, there is a flip side to that coin. In Mark 6:1-6, we find Jesus entering his hometown and teaching in the synagogue. The people were amazed at his teaching, but there was a problem; they had known him since childhood, and so they found it easy to doubt him. As you continue to read this passage in Mark, you will find that their lack of faith limited the miracles Jesus was able to do among them. Verse 6 reads: “He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

I ask again; “Do you amaze Jesus?” Is Jesus amazed when he sees your faith in him, or is it your lack of faith that amazes him?

Sometimes life will have you hanging by a branch. We’ve all been there. When these times come, fix your eyes on Jesus and trust him with all of your heart, because there is something powerful about faith. Please don’t let the challenges of life convince you to look for other sources of hope and comfort, because friend, you will quickly find that there is no other source worth trusting in. May we all have a faith that amazes Jesus!