Are You Transactional, Transformational or Both?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Happy New Year, Everyone! Per our previous message, I pray that your first weeks into 2017 have you “shifted and lifted” to remain in God’s peace as you carry out His purposes.

In this year and a half of studying various leadership styles through my Master of Public Administration courses with Regent University, I’ll reference two for this message: transactional and transformational. If I were to ask you, “Are you transactional, transformational or both?,” you may want to understand the traits that distinguish each before you respond.

business-corporate-transactional

Transactional leaders offer a reward contingent upon the work and appropriate behaviors. Both parties are cooperative in order to secure particular ends. The transactional leader is always expecting something in return—a give to get scenario.

Transformational leaders transform people to their highest good or ill (let’s focus on the good). They provide support, encouragement, coaching and mentoring. The transformational leader pays careful attention to individual followers often with a benevolent, developmental, mentoring nature, as well as intellectual stimulation. Such relationships come with increasing levels of self-sacrifice, love and respect.

Certainly, to navigate life, we have to be transactional to purchase products or services, to do business with others. However, some people remain stuck in this transactional space to preserve their self-interests, not graduating to being transformational in others’ lives. They always operate at the margin that will cost them the least amount of money, time or other resource investment. This act of self-preservation may be driven by past hurts, or someone they trusted deceived them or used them, or they’ve simply vowed to look out for Number 1 because who else is?

Oppositely, transformational leaders/transformational people, understand that there will be costs—costs that they may never see an actual return on their investment—but they are willing to invest because they trust that the outcomes will be greatly exponential. They understand that those outcomes may or may not manifest immediately but will absolutely bear fruit in the eternal.

Jesus Christ was and is transformational. As a dear brother in Christ indicated, “Jesus sought out transformative relationships with everyone who was willing to be transformed by Him.” So true. Jesus paid a great price to have such a relationship with you and me.

He exchanged His Majestic position of being the King of kings and Lord of lords to become a defenseless infant in a manger. He exchanged position to wash His apostles’ feet, as a dear sister in Christ reminded me. He exchanged His glorious crown for a crown of thorns so we could have true life. His investment in us for those who accept it is nothing short of transformational. He knew the costs. He knew He would give far more than others would give Him in return. He knew He would give and others may never receive Him. Yet, He gave anyway. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45, NIV).”

feet-washing

 

Christ’s love operating within those who’ve asked to receive Him enables us to love and serve others beyond what is expected. Christ’s love for us fuels His love within us and fuels our actions toward others. As a dear sister in Christ says, “Christ’s love is the divine spark that fuels everything.” This is what transitions us from being simply transactional people to transformational leaders and simultaneously, servants. 

The love of Christ makes no sense to this carnal world that is counting its marbles to preserve its self-interests—in a world that is shocked when someone’s help or involvement is not driven by ulterior, self-serving motives. The love of Christ takes us beyond what we thought possible in serving others. In serving others in the love of Christ and through a biblical worldview, Christ is central in all that we do.

So, given the descriptions provided, are you transactional, transformational or both? If you are still counting your marbles given out, ask God to search your heart to identify and remove the issues that puts self first. May you seek more of Christ’s transformative love to reside in your heart to decrease self and increase Him. As you trust Him to be your front and rear guard in all circumstances, watch Him exceed your expectations. In our transactions with others, may we also seek to be transformational.

-Nicole

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.

 

 

 

 

The Hardest Words of God to Read

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

The hardest words of God to read. Some people think the hardest word or words to hear from God are “no,” “wait,” “be still” or “forgive.”

While those may be tough words to hear at the time, these words struck me with great soberness:

24- Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25-They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26- Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27- In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28- Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  (Romans 1:24-28 NIV)

“God gave them over.”

One scripture commentary reads that God is “leaving them to the pollution of their nature; by withdrawing his providential restraints from them, and by giving them up to judicial hardness: through the lusts of their own hearts.”

Another commentary in that same text reads: “As they deserted God, God in turn deserted them.”

“God gave them over.” No divine intervention. Divine abandonment.

Man grieved

 

I had to let these words set in for a moment. I felt grief, sorrow. Still do. It’s perhaps the grief felt by our Heavenly Father when His children choose paths that will lead to their self-destruction, ignoring His repeated warnings and attempts to protect them against such decisions. Far worse, they were presented God’s truth and exchanged it for lies.

God is so loving, merciful and extends His grace toward us, over and over, and over, and over again. As humans we’re less forgiving toward people’s repeated rebellion.

For God, Who is so loving toward us, when He gives you over to your fleshly desires and says, “If this is what you want, here it is,” who else but God could bring you back from the brink of such destruction??

Heavy. I have to leave it here. I’m not deceived in thinking that everyone will forgo their fleshly desires to pursue Christ. But if there’s an opportunity for someone to receive life, I lift this prayer in earnestness:

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your amazing love, long-suffering , grace and tender mercies extended toward us. While those of us who are secured and sealed in Christ’s righteousness and therefore face no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) as we strive to be transformed each day into Christ’s likeness, we ask your continued patience as we plant seeds and show Christ’s love among those who are choosing destructive paths. We pray for one more time, that their hearts might be prepared for true repentance to seek Your Son Jesus. We pray that sin’s grip will be broken in their lives and they will be made whole. We pray they choose abundant and eternal life instead of eternal, spiritual death. Where they’ve made You absent, we pray they make You present and tell others of your wondrous love. Thank you, Lord. Amen. 

-Nicole

To learn more about what is accelerating our nation’s decay, please read “Consequentialism in Romans,” written by our dear brother in Christ, Charles Holmes, of Christian think tank, FreedomSquared.org. Powerful piece.

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.

 

Abortion: Promote Deliverance, Not Debate

Abortion woman and infant ropeIn a society that largely pursues convenience and freedom at all costs, how should we, the Body of Christ and the Church, respond to abortion in a democratic society? Debates and protests at clinics have seldom transformed lives. Rather, Christians should do this.

Read our ministry founder’s Gospel Today article “Abortion: Promote Deliverance, Not Debate” to learn what is “this.”

Discipline From a Loving Father

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.–Hebrews 12:5-7 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Son? Daughter? “I disciplined you because I love you. I don’t want to see you harmed in the future and I don’t want you to hurt yourself so it was best that I correct you now.” A loving parent might utter these words after disciplining their child. It’s not easy for a loving parent to discipline a child, but it is necessary. Parenting is a great responsibility the Lord gives to parents to guide and nurture their children.

Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for loving parents with good intentions to discipline their children. These days, if a child is disciplined physically as opposed to verbally, that parent may be questioned by authorities for child abuse. Yet, God originally intended for children to be disciplined even if it meant, physically. For the Bible says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” – Proverbs 13:24

Lack of discipline might raise the question of whether a parent truly loves their child because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children.Father disciplining son

Parents have years of experiential wisdom in living that in disciplining their child today it will help avert the possibility for future disaster. So it is with God who has infinite wisdom. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal savior, through God’s great pleasure and will have now been adopted as sons and daughters of God. –Ephesians 1:5

Some thought that when they became Christians that hard times would never come again. They questioned God’s love in times of suffering and confusion, whether through sin or not their fault. Yet, remember that God loves you. No discipline seems pleasant at the time. However, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11 Those he loves, he rebukes and disciplines. – Revelation 3:19

I don’t know what you’re going through friend, but I do know you are a child of a loving Father who knows you and your future completely. Jesus Christ knows your plight and shares in it with you. For the Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”– Jeremiah 29:11 (New Living Translation) Amen

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the Great Commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the Gospel to be spread from person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

Single Ladies: Meet Your Heavenly Husband

Catherine Fendig, author and inspirational speaker

Catherine Fendig, author and inspirational speaker

Ladies, are you on a “relationship turnstile,” of dating different men yet same results? After five failed marriages, and now married to her godly husband of 14 years, Catherine Lake Fendig found the keys to stop the destructive relationship cycle. One is: don’t live in the fantasy of what could be. From my Gospel Today article, “Way of the Well Woman: Author Catherine Fendig Stopped Her Unhealthy Relationship Turnstile When She Made God Her Heavenly Husband,” learn six tips to stop the turnstile and have the right relationship. We thank Catherine for her transparency that will bless many women. We also thank Dawn Bauer, founder of The Family Hope Line (a Voices Against the Grain ministry partner) for introducing us to Catherine. Both ladies shared their stories and helpful information during our September 10 radio interview

Homosexuality and God’s Word: 5 Truths

Legalize Love imageHomosexuality. It’s a sensitive subject. Often uncomfortable and unpopular to discuss among those who share differing views about the lifestyle. Christians are challenged regularly on the topic as they engage with colleagues, loved ones, neighbors, and lawmakers. As Believers, one of our objectives is to present truth to those deceived so restoration can occur. Unfortunately, inharmonious debates exchanged between Believers and non-believers have sent both parties sputtering in the wrong direction. Read my article featured in Gospel Today to receive five truths to help Believers strike the right chords in a world out of tune. “5 Truths That Strike the Right Chords in a World Out of Tune.” 

Who Understands You Best?

Job 36:5- God is mighty, but he does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Understand…Understand the power that God holds within His hands. Understand that hate doesn’t reside in God’s heart, but rather, love and patience. Understand that God listens. For He rather us comprehend the path He set us on, rather then stumble through it. Understand that when people are ignorant to your problems and needs, God sits by to hear the inaudible confessions of our Spirit, which groans on our behalf. Understand that there is more to this life then happiness, in that one of the first fruits is longsuffering. Understand that the signal flare we shot into the sky was a beacon for help, but instead we alerted the enemy. Understand…For the Lord has encapsulated us in His cloak to hide us from those who seek to pillage our spirits. Therefore, when we are uncovered we will stand as warriors, tried and true slaying every impediment and circumstance that seeks to stand in our way. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

 

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the pureHOPE advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

Fear? It’s Not From God

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (sound mind).” -2 Timothy 1:7 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

We all have experienced in our lives that uneasy, dreadful, threatening, and imbalanced feeling and emotion of “fear.” Some of us deal with feelings of fear each day and we ask God, “When we will this ever end?” Maybe you’re feeling fearful about what the doctor will say about your condition next visit? Maybe you’re not sure what direction you’re heading in life and that’s causing you to fear? Whatever is causing you to fear, know that the emotion of fear is NOT from our loving God.

The Bible says that God did not give us that sort of spirit but he gave us one of power, love, and self-discipline. Furthermore, our loving Father said, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” –Isaiah 41:10.

So where exactly did feelings of fear come from? Let me suggest that it may have been a result of learned perceptions or attitudes we may have picked up as children from someone else. Often times it could be our family members and we consequently carried those same attitudes and perceptions into our adulthood. There is NOTHING good or beneficial to holding on to feelings of fear.

2-Timothy-1-7

Fear undermines our self-confidence, produces poor self-images of ourselves, stifles our abilities to think creatively and make sound decisions from an inner place of wisdom, forces us to doubt, and ultimately gives us a wrong view of an all-loving God. Sin is also deceptively crafty at inviting fear into our lives. If we blindly live in it, a series of other damaging feelings can follow such as guilt, anger, jealously, rejection and many other similar feelings toward ourselves and we’ll project those feelings onto others.

Yet, God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him (John 3:16). This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us His spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us”-1 John 4:9-13.

Friend, the next time you feel fear, stop what you’re doing, slow down and make the CHOICE to embrace the LOVE of God that is readily accessible to you at every moment.  Amen

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.

It Can’t Hold Me

 

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Job 4:14 -“Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled.” (New Living Translation) 

 (This is dedicated to RR) Fear is nothing more than a deceitful agent that robs us of our hope. Fear is nothing more than a cataclysmic event of our consciousness warring within our souls. Fear is nothing more than venom, which seeks to systemically shut down each one of our bodily functions, until the color leaves our faces. From dust we were configured. From God’s breath we were made alive. From His love and sacrifice we were made whole. Therefore, may we seek confidence over the likelihood of defeat. May we seek strength over the crushing vice of of uncontrollable circumstances. May we seek comfort over the bed of needles this world provides for rest. For the mission is a laborious one, packed to the brim with disappointments and unlikable scenarios. But it is God who leads us to the path of victory. Hence, our FEAR slowly transforms into COURAGE. A trait that will lead anyone to the promise land flowing with milk and honey. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 24, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the pureHOPE advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.