Can We Talk?


Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

I have felt the Lord’s grief on my heart in receiving this message. However, in obedience to the Lord, the title and the words that follow is what the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart to share with you. While I have been told that I have a pastor’s heart for people, I hope I also represent God’s Heart to people. In His correction of us, He also loves us.

Can we talk for a minute?

#BlackLivesMatter. #AllLivesMatter. Social justice. Mindfulness. These and other trending words have been used as a means to bring justice to injustices and peace to situations that cause us distress. These words have been used to ineffectively substitute the hope and peace of Christ Jesus to give people other “flavors” of hope, peace and justice if they do not believe in Christ. Through His Holy Spirit, the Lord has assured me of His grief on such substitutions. All of it is the wickedness of Satan in which such deceptions are nicely wrapped yet counterfeit in their outcomes.

In mankind’s arrogant attempt to do and fix this life without including Christ Jesus, we are failing to advance God’s intended relationship goal for humanity to be reconciled to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 tells us of God’s intentions:

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

To refresh your memory, mankind became estranged from God, enemies of God through the fall of Adam and Eve. In search for better paths in their own minds, mankind has pulled away from God’s will and design. All creation is paying the price for the original sin of Adam and Eve, which continues to perpetuate lawlessness, confusion, strife, rebellion, and brokenness in our world. Christ came to restore us to a right relationship with God. Human pursuits of hope, justice and peace even in our best intentions will always fall short of the measurement of what Christ will do through repentant hearts.

As Ambassadors of Christ, as ministers of reconciliation as ascribed in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, why would we give people a counterfeit solution? A placebo? This message is not directed at everyone but the many who continue to substitute Christ Jesus with counterfeit recommendations in order to keep a good standing with friends, family, clients, or the public. Many people want their faith in Jesus to be personal but not public. In keeping face with mankind, these are the words the Holy Spirit grievously put on my heart to communicate to you:

“Why didn’t you tell them about Me?”

These seven words, “Why didn’t you tell them about Me?”,  weigh heavily on my heart. I see a grieving Father, Savior and Friend. Can you imagine sidelining a friend, moreover Our Savior? Heartbreaking. Even though I share the Gospel, I know there have been moments where I was quiet when the Holy Spirit was prompting me to speak on His behalf. I pray that you nor I would hear these words said to us by the Lord when we have come to the end of our days and are face to face with Him; for Him to replay the moments when we replaced Him with alternative recommendations in our engaging with those in search of hope, peace and justice. How devastating that we thought it better to save face with people than to obey the heart of God.




Christian author and speaker Lisa Bevere, in her book Without Rival, writes: “The deceitful spirit will always tell you that there is enlightenment outside of God’s Word. That we are in a new age and God no longer means what He said.”

In people’s offering up of counterfeit solutions, she refers to Jeremiah 2:13 (New Living Translation):

My people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me―the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns (wells) that can hold no water at all!

Lord help us.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well who thirsted for drink but truly thirsted for more (a longing to be truly loved after having five husbands), that the well water she was taking from would never quench her thirst. She’d have to keep coming back. So Jesus offers to her to come to Him and drink, and never thirst again (John 4:13-14, John 7:37).

“Can we talk?” suggests a care and concern for others―not to tell them what they want to hear but what they need to hear. If you have used words to substitute or replace the hope, peace and justice of Christ Jesus with worldly wisdom, I urge you to repent. Our Lord is grieved though He loves you and for this reason has brought this loving message of correction. I am simply the messenger.

Thankfully, someone told me and you about Jesus. Praise God! May we earnestly desire to quench others’ thirst with the hope and peace of Christ Jesus and not with empty wells in which they will attempt to draw from, still thirsty and unfulfilled. As ministers of reconciliation, may we courageously, lovingly and unashamedly share the truth of Christ Jesus with others. May we desire that no one live life less than what God has promised for those who love Him. May we no longer entertain or justify moments without Christ. The ministry of reconciliation of the lost back to God IS THE MISSION. May we make no room for Christ to say to us, “Why didn’t you tell them about Me?”


Love and God bless you,


Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.









Beyond #BlackLivesMatter: Gracism

Gracism book coverUndoubtedly, the #BlackLivesMatter grassroots movement has gained tremendous traction with national media and various members of the public since its launch in July 2013. A movement birthed after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Black teen Trayvon Martin—yet still without the desired changes to dismantle structural racism. A book I read recently along with my personal beliefs on the issues has prompted me to invite you and others to think beyond #BlackLivesMatter and embrace gracism for a chance at real change and healing.

Read our ministry founder’s Gospel Today article “Beyond #BlackLivesMatter: Gracism.” 

Baltimore: What Our Words Really Mean

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

“Cultural competency training.”‎ “Treat people like you want to be treated. ” “Civility.” “#BlackLivesMatter.” “Inequality.” “Injustice.” “Bad apples.” “Accountability.” “Added protections.” “Depraved-heart murder.”

These are some of the words and phrases that emerged from last week’s conversations surrounding the volatile and tragic Baltimore riots. The unjustified death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody surfaced familiar feelings of anger among Blacks and others. Another Black man was dead at the hands of police and it was uncertain if anyone would be held accountable, as seen in other cases across the country.


To the aforementioned familiar terms introduced in this piece…here’s what those words really mean— and their potential to drive the desired community, national and global outcomes we seek:

God’s love. Man and woman He created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), God fashioned each of us. Create in me a clean, pure heart and renew a right spirit within me  (Psalm 51:10). Help me to extend to others faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Let me seek another’s highest good. To love one another as Christ loves us. (John 13:34). Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and more…


Are we naive to believe that society’s morality will progress if not for a heart transformed by Christ Jesus? If this transformation doesn’t occur within each person, then we will continue to battle injustices as there will have been no transformation of the heart. Those unchanged will audaciously and ignorantly operate in their own version of “truth” thinking their version is superior to The Truth, God’s Truth.

Baltimore riots April 2015 woman faces police

Baltimore riots April 2015 raise the race conversationLofty hopes of new laws, programs and trainings will fail as some people hold onto their self-interests rather than invite Christ to be the Captain of their lives; their Lord and Savior, the resident and president of their lives. So long as humans subscribe to their wills and not the will of God, injustices (whether or not intentional, driven by self-interests and self-centeredness) will persist.


As someone who hopes for the hearts of mankind to change, it is not my desire to be a “Debbie downer.” I am simply sober about the realities many fear to acknowledge, even though the patterns repeat and intensify with every generation. Rather than push for another program to be created, pray for hearts to be transformed by Christ Jesus.


Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.