“En Theos”

Romans 12:11- Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“En theos” is a Latin phrase to describe the word “enthusiasm.” A phrase which means “in God,” to which we place our hope and trust. Hence, “in God” leans to the side of heavenly riches rather than our own mundane wealth. “In God” is a reminder to work with jubilation, for our work is more than a remedial task, but an outline for a magnanimous plan.

Circumstances beset our souls. Anger displaces our rationality. Truth dissipates and all we are left with is confusion. How can a person work in such an environment? The answer, “en theos,” for we were placed in that situation for a reason, even though its contents remain esoteric to us. For there are no coincidences or luck in life. There is only an outcome that God has already seen. For at the right time the veil will be lifted from our eyes, so we might see the journey ahead of us. Thus, work like there is no tomorrow and you too will be blessed in God’s Kingdom.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

Where Is Your Advice Coming From?

Proverbs 15:22- Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Never let success go to your head and never let failure go to your heart. Have a perfect balance of humility and grace mixed in with determination and understanding. For success is a God-ordained allowance entrusted and secured by few. These few surround themselves with a cadre of advisers, to usher in the right dosage of perspectives to produce unique ideas toward their mission. These few have learned through many experiences of failure: where each blow suffered left them weak and distraught; where each impediment detoured their way, thus delaying their journey to reach their final destination. Hence, success must be taken with precaution, for the one that giveth is also the one who can taketh away. Therefore, may we not live in fear of what could be lost, but rather in hope of what could be gained. For the plan has finally been put into motion and God has allowed us to see it through.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

Voices Against the Grain Turns 2!

“Do not despise small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10, New Living Translation)

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Mixed with some trepidation but more exhilaration and freedom, I hit the “publish” button on May 28, 2013 to share with the world our first blog post. I was now “out there” with a bold message that would show everyone for sure who I was and where I stood on life issues. No going back. No retreat. I was living and speaking from my authentic self. No longer afraid of being politically correct or concerned about whose toes I might step on in the process of lovingly sharing God’s Word, I still remember that day as the Holy Spirit stirred in me. I stepped out of the shackles of worrying what others thought and boldly began sharing about Jesus Christ in hopes to free and embolden others. That was two years ago!  In this daily journey of yielding to the Holy Spirit’s promptings/instructions and putting our faith in action to share His Word, our ministry team has been AMAZED and HONORED to witness the consistent growth. All to His Name and Glory!! Since our May 28, 2013 launch we’ve:

  • Published 292 blog posts
  • Received nearly 16,000 visitors to our site (15,946)
    • Launched online 1-hour weekly radio show on September 4, 2013
    • Hosted nearly 30 shows with more than 30 guests
    • Transitioning from online-only radio network to a DC-based radio station w/wider reach
    • Have exponentially grown our social media reach
    • Became monthly faith columnist for GospelToday.com (since June 2014)
    • Gained ministry partnerships
    • Secured ministry events with select colleges

Praise God for how He has used our ministry platform as a vessel to equip and empower Believers; to bring clarity, truth and restoration through His Word to unbelievers walking in confusion, deception and brokenness caused by Satan’s counterfeit schemes. We are grateful to be in His service! With a continued mission and mantra of “Advancing God’s Kingdom in a ‘do your own thing society’,” we are excited for what the Lord has done, what He is doing and will do through us and others.

birthday cake 2

I am grateful to God for each of our team members who He has gifted with talents, messages and their own ministries: Ana, Destiney, Herbert, Jason and Jill. Thank you for our ministry partners PureHOPE and The Family Hope Line who have blessed us with support. Thank you for each of our radio show guests who’ve brought excellent messages of truth and restoration to our audience since the show’s launch on September 4, 2013. Thank you to my amazing and dearly loved prayer partners, mentors, family and friends whose godly words, counsel, prayers have guided me on this journey. Blessed to serve and love in truth those who we are reaching through written content, messages from radio show guests, etc.

How did Voices Against the Grain start? What were my feelings about it? Read my first blog post from our May 28, 2013 launch. Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we grow and disperse salt, light, love and truth into the territories God has called us to! Love and Blessings to each of you and yours.

-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 and the VATG ministry team here. 

VATG in Photos

VATG devotional writer Herbert Bowen, Jr. (black shirt) and  founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), poses with his BTEP team and partners, Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo and 14-year-old Charlotte race car driver Matt Murphy IV (purple shirt) to host their first annual fundraiser on May 14, 2015 to purchase new equipment and uniforms for a disadvantaged high school baseball team.

VATG devotional writer Herbert Bowen, Jr. (black shirt) and founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), poses with his BTEP team and partners, Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo and 14-year-old Charlotte race car driver Matt Murphy IV (purple shirt) to host their first annual fundraiser on May 14, 2015 to purchase new equipment and uniforms for a disadvantaged high school baseball team. (Photo courtesy Ken Bebe)

VATG devotional writer Herbert Bowen, Jr. (black shirt to right of sign), and founder of B.T.E.P., poses with his team, Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, coaches and players of the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology baseball team at B.T.E.P.'s kickoff event on May 14, 2015 to raise funds to purchase new equipment and uniforms for the baseball team in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo courtesy Ken Bebe)

VATG devotional writer Herbert Bowen, Jr. (black shirt to right of sign), and founder of B.T.E.P., poses with his team, Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, coaches and players of the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology baseball team at B.T.E.P.’s kickoff event on May 14, 2015 to raise funds to purchase new equipment and uniforms for the baseball team in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo courtesy Ken Bebe)

VATG founder Nicole D. Hayes and VATG digital media coordinator Destiney Bishop, enjoy a perfect weather day, brunch and fellowship in DC on May 22, 2015.

VATG founder Nicole D. Hayes and VATG digital media coordinator Destiney Bishop enjoy a perfect weather day, brunch and fellowship in DC on May 22, 2015.

The Mission Launch

Mark 16:15- And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

The mission, the mission, the mission. It’s a sobering thought to realize that your calling is in line with God’s direction. It’s even better to realize that your aim has minimal impediments, which speaks to God’s approval. It’s no surprise that you’re overjoyed by the outcome of your success, because through it all you looked to satisfy God’s will, instead of your own. Hence, you smile, for the hardship endured to reach your destination was a rocky one. The hardship endured to find direction created many obstacles to deter you from your true potential.

The hardship endured to make you a complete specimen, first has to be tested in the fire of the kiln to harden the exterior of God’s creation. Upon exit you stood, as the steam rose from your head. For it was there that you were perfectly made, and it was there that God implanted you with a unique mission that would magnify His Name.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

Meet the Team: Q & A With Herbert Bowen, Jr.

You’ve read his devotionals: short, excellent use of word imagery to create that vivid mental picture to easily grasp concepts; messages crafted with a particular lingo and passion to reach our young people. He’s Herbert Bowen, Jr., our beloved Voices Against the Grain devotional writer and “Kingdom Connector.” Herbert was the first member to join our ministry team in 2013. He’s played a significant role in bringing on other ministry team members and ministry partners. What is his favorite food? Favorite bible verse? Learn more about Herbert in the Q & A below. 

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Where are you from?  King of Prussia, PA

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team? I first met Ms. Hayes at the February 2013 “Going Against the Grain” conference in Charlotte, N.C., where we were both speakers, held at the Central Church of God. From there we exchanged information with my intent for connecting for a show idea, but spoke more in depth about writing as Ms. Hayes began creating VATG in May 2013.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Being with my grandmother at church as she shows her immense zeal and fervor for the Lord. It was an experience that was both embarrassing and entertaining all at the same time.

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/temptations to come into our lives? I think my best interpretation would have to be Romans 5:3-5, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5, New Living Translation)

What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I run a startup organization called B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People) where we make sure that no child is mentally defeated before stepping onto the sports field, due to lack of equipment or athletic gear.

What is your favorite bible verse? 1 Timothy 4:14-16, but specifically verse 16- “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”(1 Timothy 4:16 New Living Translation)

What does having a relationship/walk with God mean to you? My relationship with God is simple. He loved me first, which in turn taught me how to love, which we didn’t deserve. So all in all, to be undeserving creatures who garnered His love, is fascinating. A trait I try to extend to everyone I meet.

What is your favorite food? Chicken Parmesan

If you had a superpower what would it be? If you have ever seen Justice League, Alien Manhunters powers I would fancy to have for myself. It’s an amalgam of different ones, such as teleportation, phasing, shapeshifting, telepathy, etc…

Is there anything else we should know about you? Not really, only that I believe in reciprocity and unity to create a change that will inspire and move millions if utilized correctly.

Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr. here.

Are You Ready?

Philippians 2:13- For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Were you ready two years ago for the plans God had for you? Were you ready three years ago for the blessings God is bestowing upon you? Is it possible to fathom that the fruits of your endeavors would begin to ripen? Thus, “he will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

This is the reason we are given things in allotments at different periods of our lives. These allotments are to be used and not saved for a later date. For these blessings have a purpose, which is to multiply, instead of being cached away. Therefore, may we shield ourselves in the cloak of humility to handle the limelight, because now the world is watching. May we protect ourselves with the helmet of strength to thwart the onslaught of negativity and doubt that seeks to seep into our minds. Hence, the sword pushes back the enemy and our journey continues step by step.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.

Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

Unique Soil

Psalm 1:3- They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

A tree planted by the water is a tree that will live for many years. Why? Because the land is fertile. This land is home to thousands of species sprawling with vitality and vigor. The land’s soil is unique, as it contains silt left by the running flow of the river. It is this sediment that aids in yielding bountiful fruit for this tree. It is this sediment that deposited its nutrients to improve the tree’s mortality. It is this tree that shades when hot, feeds when hungry, and quenches our parched lips when thirsty.

This gift to draw many cannot be taken lightly. For the gift, like life can be here today and gone tomorrow. So our words, our actions, and our minds must adhere to grace and love. Only here will we be able to accept our faults and that of others, while clinging to love to remain tall and sturdy amid any storm.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.

Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

The Endless Dance

Job 30:17- At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Where does it come from? At what point will this cutting pain dissipate? Why must these pins and needles play with the muscles? For their dance has led to lack of sleep. Their dance has created spasms that have left us breathless. Their dance has rendered our schedules useless, which has kept us from completing the tasks of our day. Pain is nothing but an admonition to tell us that something is wrong. Pain is the sensor that lights up to make us cognizant that we must pay attention. Pain is the brakes that slow us down to a grinding halt. Therefore, may we revel in our thorns that have pierced our flesh, because like Paul who asked, “three different times for the Lord to take it away,” he found that His power was greatest when weak, “so that the power of Christ could work through him” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). Thus, pain is crucial as it strengthens our resolve and steadies are minds.

 

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.

Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here

 

I See You

Luke 12:35- “Be dressed in readiness and keep your lamps lit.” (New American Standard Bible)

(This is dedicated to Monica, thanks for your kind words.)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Keep watch and don’t be caught off guard.” This sentence is one that resonates in my heart and mind each and every day. Why?  Because you never know who is looking to you to stay strong, so they might have a shoulder to lean on. Is this task easy? Not at all, but when we can see a man or woman practicing what they preach, it encourages us. It keeps us secure. It allows us to realize that truth does have a part in this world, and not everything is dimly lit. Why? Because we have the Divine Oil that keeps our lamps burning throughout the night, so others might be able to keep the path in sight. This life now becomes more than one individual—it becomes likened to a community of brothers and sisters who take care of one another. For the task held alone is not easy and the yoke is hard to bear; the reason why encouragement are the sobering words we ought to share.

#Godsway

Herbert 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. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He is also the founder of B.T.E.P. (Bringing Together Extraordinary People), a Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to unite professional athletic organizations in accordance with their neighboring counties in the Greater Charlotte area, and to improve underprivileged athletic programs and share in the duty of empowering disadvantaged youth within their communities.
Learn more about Herbert Bowen, Jr., here