Meet the Team: Q & A With Jill Tomlinson

“Exposing lies, imparting truth and empowering the body of Christ” as it reads from her and her husband Jimmy Tomlinson’s ministry website, Jill Tomlinson is the newest member to join the Voices Against the Grain team. Joining our ministry team as a devotional writer in April 2015, Jill and her husband are the co-founders of Transcend Ministries. She is also the author of No More Liesa transparent and candid book that exposes Satan’s lies that produce strongholds on our lives. Jill leads readers through biblical truths that bring freedom and wholeness found only in Christ Jesus. We are blessed to serve with this woman of God who helps free people from emotional shackles! What’s her favorite food? Favorite scripture? Learn more about Jill in the Q & A below.

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Where are you from? I am originally from Moultrie, GA. I now live in Colorado Springs, CO but still have a strong southern accent.   🙂

When is your birthday? My birthday is January 1. I love it because it is always a holiday!

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team? I was introduced to Nicole Hayes through a dear mutual friend, Dawn Bauer. It didn’t take long to realize our hearts were knit together by the blood of Jesus and that this was a God-connection. I was honored to accept when Nicole asked me to join the writing team for Voices Against the Grain.

What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memory is playing in fields of Easter lilies on the family farm in Georgia.

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/temptations to come into our lives? My earthly dad would never give permission for a thief to tie me up, beat me, rob me and leave me for dead. He would never give permission for that to happen, and how much more loving and perfect is my Father in Heaven? I believe when trials and temptations come, they come from the enemy, Satan. He is the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). To believe that God allows these things in our lives is to believe that He actively or passively (by allowing) causes evil to come to us. That is not who God is.

God is sovereign which means that He is supreme in being. He is completely superior and autonomous, but that does not mean He controls everything (either actively or passively) that happens in our lives. For example, God does not cause sickness. Nor does He allow sickness. Sickness is a tool of the enemy. Jesus healed all who were sick. If God was allowing sickness, why would Jesus (God made flesh) turn around and heal the sick? Jesus would have been going against the will of His Father, which He could not do. God does not allow sickness, sin, or trouble. Everything evil entered the human race and this world when sin did and none of it came from God.

Jesus is our Advocate before God. He is at the right hand of God representing us and interceding for us. The finished work of Jesus put an end to the enemy approaching God to accuse us before Him. Satan has been cast down and has no voice in the presence of God. Jesus ended that through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

On this earth, the enemy still reigns and sin still affects this world. This is temporary, but while it lasts, the effects of sin are still all around us. This includes trials and troubles that we face at times, but they are not by God’s permission. They are sent from the enemy. As believers we have been given the authority of Christ to stand against the enemy and his schemes and believe, declare, and receive all the promises of God made available to us through Jesus.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). – John 10:10 AMP

What do you do in your spare time? I most enjoy just hanging out with my husband and kids in my spare time. It is the sweetness of the simple things that make me happiest.

What is your favorite bible verse? For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

What does having a relationship/walk with God mean to you? I believe having a relationship with God means living moment-by-moment in oneness with Him. It isn’t about religious traditions. It is the deepest love and only real freedom. I am His and He is mine. We do each and every moment of life together.

What is your favorite food? I love seafood.

If you had a superpower what would it be? If I had a superpower, I would want it to be the ability to travel through time.

Is there anything else we should know about you? I’m simple, honest, and passionate. I want every breath and every moment of my life to count for Jesus.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

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Meet the Team: Q & A With Ana Martinez

She’s a pastor’s daughter who felt God’s call early on her life though admits she strayed from it. Her life experiences have taught her that God’s way and His principles are worth upholding. Today as mom of three, she is a God-fearing Christian woman determined to do the Lord’s will. Her heart’s desire is to reach the lost and win souls for the Kingdom of Heaven by sharing the Good News, according to Matthew 28:19. Ana wants hurting people to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Our dear sister in Christ who has courageously shared her testimony of how Jesus has redeemed and restored her, learn more about Voices Against the Grain devotional writer, Ana Martinez, in the Q & A below. 

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Where are you from? Michigan born and raised! Proud to be an American and blessed to have roots in Puerto Rico. Viva Puerto Rico and God bless America!

When is your birthday? October 5

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team? Through my dear friend and fellow blogger Herbert Bowen, Jr.

What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memory is going to cut down our family Christmas tree. The ground was covered with snow and on the car ride home my sisters and I sang songs with our Mother trying to convince our Dad through music to stop at a fast food burger joint called Hot n’ Now. Together we united forces and chanted, “We want Hot n’ Now! Hot n’ Now! Hot n’ Now! We want Hot n’ Now Hot n’ Now NOW!” Either we were very persuasive or he was just sick of hearing us sing. Nonetheless, it worked and he stopped. Yum!

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/ temptations to come into our lives? I truly believe God allows trials and temptations to come so that our character can be molded and strengthened in Christ. Through my personal struggles I have become more dependent on Him and recognize my own strengths and weaknesses. Where we are weak He is strong. Praise God!

What do you do in your spare time? As a mom of three, spare time is limited. So currently, I check emails, lol.

What is your favorite bible verse? Jeremiah 29:11

What does having a relationship/ walk with God mean to you? To me, having a relationship/walk with God means spending time in His presence, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus and asking Him to direct your steps. Daily submitting your will and desires unto Him and aligning yourself with His will for your life. It’s not easy but so worth it!

What is your favorite food? I have so many favorite foods. #1 anything my mom and dad make! Puerto Rican food of course. Also homemade Italian and French food along with everything in New York!

If you had a superpower what would it be? It would be awesome to be able to fly!

Is there anything else we should know about you? I’m head over heels in love with Jesus and a supporter of Israel!

Learn more about Ana Martinez here.

Meet the Team: Q & A With Nicole D. Hayes

A March 2013 spirit-led conversation shared with her dentist while getting her six-month routine cleaning planted the seed to the ministry the Holy Spirit would lead her to birth on May 28, 2013. Committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ, learn more about Voices Against the Grain founder, Nicole D. Hayes, in the Q & A below. 

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Where are you from?  Topeka, KS

When is your birthday? June 14 (Flag Day/ U.S. Army Birthday)

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team?  Founded the ministry in May 2013.

What is your favorite childhood memory? So many! Most involved how my younger brother Bryan and I would scheme to get out of trouble with mom and dad! Some of the schemes worked and some didn’t.  A scheme that worked: playing Nintendo Super Mario Brothers after school while we were grounded and then quickly putting it up  when mom got home. We had a long gravel driveway which gave us time to see the car coming! A scheme that didn’t work: My grandma had made fresh blueberry muffins. She, my mom and dad left to run a quick errand while my brother and I stared hungrily at the muffins. Overtaken by temptation, instead of eating a whole muffin, we picked the edges of each one. When parents and grandma returned, my grandma saw the pinched off muffins and screamed to our mom, “Get the kids! There must be a rat in the kitchen!” To calm my grandma down, my brother and I had to tell her there was no rat nibbling on the muffins. We were the “rats.”   😦

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/ temptations to come into our lives? To purify, perfect us, to make us more like Jesus so we may also equip, empower and encourage others on their journey.

What do you do in your spare time? Read, enjoy time w/friends and family, dancing!

What is your favorite bible verse?  Jeremiah 29:11, because I know He has a great future designed for me! A close second is Proverbs 3:5-6.

What does having a relationship/walk with God mean to you? EVERYTHING! He is at the forefront of all that I do. He has proven His faithfulness to me over and over. I love Him with all that I have and desire for others to know His love too.

What is your favorite food? Avocados, Mexican food, TAMALES and breakfast any time of day!

If you had a superpower what would it be? To warp through time (past or future).

Is there anything else we should know about you? My colleagues nickname me “The General” because I am a leader who gets things DONE!

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes 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.

Meet the Team: Q & A With Destiney Bishop

Savvy in social media with a passion to advance communities, lives and organizations through skilled communications strategies, we were excited to welcome Destiney Bishop as our Digital Media Coordinator in October 2014. In her role, Destiney assists in our social media engagement to uplift various conversations within the Body of Christ and to support the Voices Against the Grain mission of “advancing God’s Kingdom in a ‘do your own thing’ society.” What does Destiney enjoy doing in her spare time? What does having a relationship with God mean to her? Learn more about Destiney in the Q&A below.

Destiney Bishop, VATG Digital Media Coordinator

Destiney Bishop, Voices Against the Grain Digital Media Coordinator

Where are you from?  I am a military brat, so I would say I am from all over. I was born in Biloxi, MS, lived in Suffolk, England, and went to high school in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Since I have spent most of my life in Maryland, I usually claim PG County – Clinton to be exact!

When is your birthday? May 5, which I also love to call #CincodeDessie

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team?  I had the pleasure of working with Voices Against the Grain founder, Nicole Hayes. Nicole would tell me about the work she was doing with VATG and I became extremely interested! From there, the rest was history.  🙂

What is your favorite childhood memory? Holidays with my grandparents. I have a very large family so it was always great to be around them during holidays. Plus, each holiday my grandmothers would cook a big feast and the food was AMAZING!

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/temptations to come into our lives? I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we forget that God already has the answer. I believe God brings us to certain trials/temptations in order for us to trust Him. It’s easy to give up when faced with difficulty but as Christians we are reminded that God has the final say. For me, these trials/temptations are merely tests and in the end bring me closer to Him.

What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time, I like to hang out with my best friends, explore new restaurants – especially going to brunch, watch classic ’90s television shows like Martin and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, reality television and of course Netflix! I also love to sleep (one can never get enough sleep) and travel!

What is your favorite bible verse? Wow, I have soo many! Philippians 4:6-7, Philippians 4:13, Proverbs 3:5-6, Luke 12:48.

What does having a relationship/walk with God mean to you? It’s everything to me. I was raised in the church and my grandmother always emphasized the importance of having a relationship with God. As a young Christian, I will say my walk hasn’t always been easy but I’m constantly reminded that without a relationship with Him, I am nothing. I’m certain that I wouldn’t be who I am without a relationship with Him.

What is your favorite food? I like all types of food, and my favorite food changes every day. If I had to pick, I would say BBQ and Mexican.

If you had a superpower what would it be? As a busybody who loves to travel, I would love to teleport to places.

Is there anything else we should know about you? 1) I have really odd sneezes. 2) I recently moved to NY so exploring a new city is exciting! 3) I have many sisters (and although they can be annoying at times, I love them very much).

 Learn more about Destiney Bishop here.

Meet the Team: Q & A with Jason M. Alexandre

You read his weekly devotionals. Bold messages wrapped in sound scripture to deliver a specific Holy Spirit-inspired word. Jason is a social worker and is passionate about spreading the Gospel. He also enjoys annual mission trips with Haiti Christianity, Inc. Jason joined the Voices Against the Grain ministry team in mid 2014 and we’ve been blessed by his service since! What’s his favorite food? Favorite scripture?  Learn more about Jason in the Q&A below.

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Where are you from? Limerick, PA

When is your birthday? November 29

How did you come to join the Voices Against the Grain team? The Lord led Herbert Bowen to invite me to become part of the team.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Hanging out with my cousins. We’re about 2-3 years apart from one another in age and we used to hang out a lot.

As a Christian, what is your understanding of why God allows trials/temptations to come into our lives? My understanding is that we share in the suffering of Jesus Christ and through our trias/temptations we become more like him in each victory.

What do you do in your spare time? I like to work out and read in my spare time.

What is your favorite bible verse? 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

What does having a relationship/walk with God mean to you? Since God is sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, having a relationship with God means that I can walk confidently in a fallen world knowing that no matter what, according to the Word of God, not only do I have a God who loves me immensely but he will never forsake or leave me.

What is your favorite food? Hot wings!

If you had a superpower what would it be? To fly (Have wings).

Is there anything else we should know about you? Simply, that I Love the Lord. He brought me out of a lot and each year he teaches me something new about himself.

 Learn more about Jason M. Alexandre here.