Serving the Voices Blog

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You Aren’t Good Enough

You Aren’t Good Enough
By: Rihanna Teixeira

Rejection. It just might be one of the most emotionally catastrophic life experiences we all face.  As children, our peers reject us when they won’t let us sit with them at the lunch table. We go home and cry into the arms of our parents as they do their best to patch us back up.  As teenagers, rejection rears its ugly head when our crush goes with someone else to the school dance or when we don’t get chosen for the team we spent years dreaming of being on.  Unfortunately, even adults can’t outrun the occasional rejection.  We don’t get the job we interviewed for or the promotion we’ve spent years working towards. Rejection hurts. Badly.

Now, imagine facing rejection anywhere from 1-4 times a week for years on end. Imagine working 80 plus hours a week with zero to little pay and having to live off ramen and dollar menu items. Imagine having to hear that you’re not good enough and that you’re wasting your life away from friends and even family members. If you imagined all those things, you might just have a taste of what it feels like to be a musician.

Chasing your dreams is hard. So much so, that the majority of Americans stop pursuing their dreams and settle for a typical office job by the age of 23. The daily grind of actually actively pursuing a dream takes an emotional toll on a person, particularly for artists.  Musicians spend hours of their time creating music. They sacrifice sleep, time with family, and nights out with friends just to give life to a song that they carry within them. They sing at open mic nights to an audience of maybe 10, while dreaming of singing at a stadium. They get denied by agents and managers who tell them that their songs aren’t good enough. Their appearance isn’t marketable. Their voice needs more work. They are faced daily with the chance that all this work may quite possibly lead to nothing. Yet, they keep going. They sleep and travel in that stereotypical “band-van” that might not make it to their next destination. They give their all at every singing event despite the terrible sound system or audience turn out.  They pour their hearts out into every song knowing that the general public will have the opportunity to tell them that they aren’t good enough.

One of the many reasons I love RYFO is because it was started by two guys who experienced what it was like to chase a dream. They realized that musicians don’t have to walk this path alone, if they can help it. They understood the power of offering an aspiring band a hot meal and a warm bed to sleep in even if it’s just for one night. They decided that a “fan” can be so much more than just a consumer. A fan can actually stand beside them and actually give back.

So, the next time you go to see your favorite local band play or if you meet an aspiring musician, encourage them. Tell them why you love their music. If you can, offer to buy them dinner. Offer them a place to stay. Tell them that you believe in them. Tell them that they are good enough.

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays
By: Sydney Fontaine

I was taken aback the other day, when upon entering a local store, I saw that everything was decked out in Christmas decorations. It is after Halloween, but I’m somehow never quite ready for the Holiday Season to come. There is never enough time between the end of Summer and when everyone breaks out the Christmas music for me to prepare for it.

This is always a strange time of year for me personally, as well as for other travelers.  The lifestyle of a touring musician doesn’t really cater to traditions, or cozy holidays in familiar surroundings. Most years it’s difficult enough to pinpoint where home is, let alone figure out if you’re going to be there for the holidays or not. This is a challenge my family and I face each year, as we find a new normal to fit the season in life we find ourselves in.  We were created for community, and our desire is to be with people, to celebrate and live alongside them. This time of year brings much emphasis to this aspect of life that is often times missing on the road, or whatever city you settle in for the winter. When you feel the sense of anticipation growing each day, your thoughts begin to spin in the direction of your family. Maybe it’s blood relatives that you long to be with, who you haven’t seen in 6 months. Or maybe it’s the other ‘family’ that you’ve met on the road, and shared those trials with that you can only become familiar with by experience.  Where ever your heart may be, it’s not always possible to be there physically. The pain of separation is very real.

But, as He does, God always seems to remedy the heartaches that come with distance. Even in loneliness, this time of year is in place to recognize and celebrate the hope we have in Christ. To remember the incredible humility with which He came to save us. I pray that although we feel far off, and detached from the warmth of home and the cheerful voices that used to surround us often, that we would allow this hope to be our fuel. That it  would produce in us perseverance to continue to be a voice, and a light with every note we sing.  That we would be empowered to continue to lead people to a place where they too recognize the reason they are breathing. This is the greatest joy for me, in music and in life.

Rejected Grace

Rejected Grace
By: Taylor Adkins

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6

I recently heard a story of someone who was hosting a touring band (not a RYFO host home) and they offered the band their bed along with some other amenities for the night.  What did the band do?  They opted to sleep outside, in their van, on a night where the temperature was likely below freezing.  And what was their reason?  They said they wouldn’t feel right putting the person out of their bedroom for the night.  They said they felt grateful just to have a place to park and bathrooms to use.  The next morning, the host went to the grocery store and bought tons of food to feed her guests.  They came inside after getting little sleep and saw all the food before them.  They stated how thankful they were that their host had gone through the trouble but proceeded to eat only a fraction of the food.  Again, their reason was they felt guilty taking all the food for themselves.  Afterwards, the band hit the road and the host felt robbed of the opportunity to bless her guests.

Last week my wife and I had a similar experience. We received an unsolicited offer from a woman in my wife’s bible study, to pay for our flight home for Christmas.  Due to some unexpected financial issues we were experiencing, it was an answered prayer!  My wife and I could not believe someone was willing to actually pay for our flight home for Christmas.  So, how did we respond? By stating “no we couldn’t ask you to do that.  It’s so much money and we couldn’t possibly accept your offer.”  Immediately, the woman responded “You are not asking me to do anything nor am I expecting anything in return.  I want to bless you and your husband this Christmas season so please accept my offer and there is no need to continue to thank me.” We continued to ask “are you sure?  Are you comfortable doing this? Is this really something you want to do?”  She pleaded with us to accept her gift to us and to not say another thing about it. This was a need that we had and a need she could provide for.

So why did my wife and I continue to fight this woman’s generosity?  To be honest, I felt undeserving of it.

Why do we do this?  Why do we refuse to humble ourselves and allow someone to do for us what we can not do for ourselves?  Why do we refuse to accept things unless we have earned them?  Honestly, I don’t know the answer, but I do know most of us do the same thing in our relationship with God.  When Christ went to the Cross He did so for the sins you have committed, the sins you are committing right this moment, and the sins you will commit.  We are forgiven! We don’t have to earn God’s grace, nor can we earn God’s grace.  Yet, daily I continue to let the guilt of my transgressions keep me from the fulfillment of being in the presence of God.  When I dwell on my sense of guilt I am missing out on the opportunity to grow in my relationship with God because my focus is not on Him.

Having had the opportunity to tour as a musician, and serve on staff with RYFO, I have both perspectives when it comes to RYFO’s mission of serving the voices.  RYFO’s only to desire is to bring the Gospel to the music community.  Their objective is to do so by loving and serving musicians selflessly and expecting nothing in return…zip…nada…zilch…NOTHING.  However, the biggest obstacle RYFO has faced in serving artists is the artists themselves.  Most feel like they don’t deserve the blessings others want to bestow on them.  Others feel like if they accept the hospitality of others, they must do something in return to make up for it.

Artists pour everything they are into their art. But, how can someone continue to pour out without being poured into?  To all the artists reading this blog, let yourself be served.  Let meals be cooked for you.  Let your gas be paid for.  Let someone give up their home so that you can recover physically, spiritually, and emotionally from life on the road.  Refusing to accept grace is robbing someone of the opportunity to bestow the blessings God has given to them.

As the old saying goes, “it is better to give than to receive.”  But, it’s impossible to give if there is no one there to receive.

A Commercial for RYFO?!

Have you ever wondered what a radio spot for RYFO might sound like?

Nick Lubs, son of Dave and Beverly, a RYFO Host Home in Indiana, made a RYFO commercial for one of his class projects. The commercial serves as an advertisement to bands about the care and support available to them through the RYFO Network.

A Soundtrack for Life

A Soundtrack for Life
By: Lori George

At the beginning of our day, in the middle of our day, and especially at the end of our day, there’s nothing quite like listening to your favorite songs. An invisible reset button is pressed and we begin to rebuild our sense of self.

Three years ago, I had the opportunity to compose my first soundtrack for a short film.  I had new recording software I was teaching myself to use and decided this would be a prime opportunity to break it in. I viewed the short film multiple times before diving in to the composition. As I prayed under my breath for the Lord to grant me supernatural tenacity, I painstakingly matched the changing themes of the film with my music. When it was all said and done I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment.

As I reflected on the finished work I began to think about the musicians who had aided my creative process. Every sound on my recording software, every MIDI track, the mic I used, and quite possibly even those who assisted in the software’s development, were probably all musicians. I wondered who they all were.  I wondered about their personal lives.  Did they have spouses? Children? An elderly mother and father living their final days in a rest home? Were their bills past due in spite of their best efforts? Did they have health concerns? What was their spiritual life about? Did they believe in Jesus as their Savior? If they did, how were they growing in their personal walk with Him? Do they have an accountability partner in their lives?

As a musician, I appreciate RYFO’s desire to bring musicians from all walks of life, one step closer to their Creator, and to care for all aspects of their well being. In a day and age where technology advances can often leave people with a deep sense of detachment, RYFO understands the importance of maintaining real life relationships and communication. If you have an embedded sense of compassion for musicians, please consider becoming a Rebranded Fan. It’s a vital part of RYFO’s efforts to spread the love of Christ within the music community.

Pieces of a Story

Pieces of a Story
By: Sydney Fontaine

The first time I heard the name “RYFO” I was sitting on a church pew in Nashville after a long night of street ministry. I have to confess that since I went to bed at 3:00 AM I was probably more asleep than I was awake.  I don’t remember who was sharing about it, and I don’t remember what they said, but I do recall that at the end of the presentation I was wide awake and writing down their website.

At that time in my life I never anticipated the impact that an organization like RYFO could have on a small band from central California, all I knew was that the concept was incredibly intriguing and captivating. I never anticipated that I would be (nervously) writing this blog a little over a year later. But God’s workings are much much different than ours, and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that His plans are significantly better than mine.

In 2009 God called my family out of the walls of the church, where my dad was a full-time youth and worship pastor into full-time music ministry. In the past four years, I’ve gone from living in a house, to a basement, to an RV with my two brothers and parents, also known as my band mates.  Before we were called out of the church, I was  leading a comfortable lifestyle with comfortable aspirations. But throughout this journey my heart has been permanently changed. My life is no longer my own, it belongs to the Lord. Now I find myself sharing the hope of Christ with people through music in situations I often feel unprepared for.

Daily I am in contact with artists across the country that do the same, and who are searching for people to come along side them, to pray with them, to encourage them, to keep them accountable. Sometimes all we need is someone to simply “get it”, when we’re stuck on the side of the road for the 8th time with a blown tire or celebrating a holiday with another 10 hour drive.   This is the reason that RYFO resonates with me. It’s meeting artists where they are-in a state of exhaustion, in a state of an unsure future, in a state of feeling alone, and reminding us who we are in Christ. Reminding us that there is a significant purpose behind what we’re doing and that it’s more than just drive, play, sleep, repeat. God is moving in a family of believers who are passionate about redeeming the arts , and I am honored to have the opportunity to share pieces of that story with you.

Contemplating Community

Contemplating Community
By: Cathy Hill

In a recent sermon based on Jeremiah 29, I was hearing how God had placed the Israelites in their current circumstances for his own reasoning. He encouraged them to go about daily life, to “make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.” (Jer 29:7, The Message) I was encouraged to think about where I have been placed for this season of my life and how I could make a difference in my community and work for the welfare of others.

So I considered my various “communities”: family, church, neighborhood, Pilates class… and then it hit me: RYFO is also one of my communities. It’s something God has called me to, where I am, at this point in my life, and it’s a place I can make a difference because of the gospel. I began to consider the ways that my RYFO ministry can have an impact within the music industry.

I can make my home available as a place for road-weary musicians to rest. I can offer you a bed instead of a backseat. I can offer you showers instead of WalMart wash basins. I can offer a hot meal instead of a cold Lunchable. By opening my front door, I can provide you with comforts of home that you miss while traveling in your van.

I can be a listening ear when someone needs to vent. I can give advice (when asked!). I can talk about things other than the next venue or the last load-out (though I can also talk about those too).

I can offer a hug to a weary soul, I can stitch up your ripped jacket, I can dole out Tylenol and EmergenC.

I can take you to my chiropractor, my mechanic and my favorite pizza place.

I can keep in touch with you. I can be a friend along the road so that your next stop in my town feels like a homecoming.

And I can pray. With you. For you. Before you arrive. After you leave. Along the road.

God has called me to serve you and I am blessed to do so.

A Home for Rebranded Fans

A Home for Rebranded Fans
By: Simeon Lohrmann

With all the fan stereotypes that exist in the music community, have you ever asked yourself what it takes to be a music fan? Maybe a simple appreciation for music suffices. Maybe a music fan is someone who supports musicians by buying CD’s and going to concerts. Is there anything else?

Recently I had the honor of visiting my alma mater, Greenville College (GC), where the initial vision for RYFO was born. My wife Johanna and I made the trip to GC with the intention of establishing a partnership between the school, particularly the Music Business Department, and RYFO. I am happy to report that our expectations were far exceeded. We were truly impressed by the commonality between the passions of the Greenville students, and the mission of RYFO.

The partnership with Greenville will certainly evolve over time, yet as it stands today, the prospects are exciting. We’re currently working to create opportunities for the students to engage in the work of RYFO through internships & short-term missions trips. Additionally, RYFO is positioned to support the hospitality efforts at AgapeFest, a 37 year old Music Festival run by Greenville’s students.

Over the past 10 months the RYFO staff has sought to promote a singular core message, “Become a different brand of fan.” This message serves as an invitation to all Christ followers who love music. If you love Jesus and love music, we believe you are the perfect candidate to help RYFO raise the bar on being a music fan. As we interacted with the Greenville students we were encouraged by their deep passion for music, and their desire to make an impact for Christ within the music community. Greenville proved to be a home for rebranded fans.

[Read more about how RYFO characterizes a Rebranded Fan]

Does your church or school share the same DNA as RYFO? If so, we would love to link arms and work together. You can can invite us out by completing the form at the bottom of this page: SHARE.

Jesus Loves You (Unless You’re Famous)

Jesus Loves You (Unless You’re Famous)
By: Rihanna Teixeira

The church has such a wonderful heart. Our passion to serve and help those who are lacking is inspiring. I love hearing stories of the homeless man who is now a pastor because someone stopped to show him the love of Christ. I smile to myself when I see a friend post pictures of their recent trip to the heart of Africa where they fed the hungry and nursed the sick. My heart rejoices when a family member successfully raises the money they need to go to Thailand to rescue the girls in slavery. I love it all.

Growing up in a Christian home and in the church, I’ve seen hundreds of support letters come through from missionaries who are traveling to the most remote parts of the world to spread the gospel. I’ve heard of prayer meetings focused on certain countries and love offerings taken for others.  But I have never seen a support letter or heard someone say that it is their dream to work as a missionary in Hollywood.

I get it. Why would they need us? They have access to literally everything they could ever want and they could surely find their way to a church if they really wanted Jesus. Plus, almost every musician and actor somehow manages to thank “God” in their acceptance speech. Surely, they can figure it out for themselves.

It’s funny how we unknowingly decide who needs Jesus the most based on whether they had caviar or dirt for dinner. I might be going out on a limb here, but I would venture to say that Hollywood is the most forgotten when it comes to God’s children. It’s easy for us to look at the hungry child who has no father and no place to call home and feel that tug on our heart to love them. But, we see a celebrity struggling with drug abuse and we write them off in disgust and pray that our children don’t ever become like them.

Both groups of people are hurting. Both groups are hungry. Both have a need. Yet, only one is accepted.

You see, beyond the champagne and glitter, the awards shows and  club appearances is someone’s daughter. Someone’s son.  We see the surface, the product, the celebrity. But God sees his most prized possession who is lost in a world where everybody knows their name and yet they don’t even know themselves.

My encouragement is this. If God gave you a heart for Africa, go to Africa. If he gave you a heart for single mothers, help single mothers. But if you have a heart for Hollywood, pursue Hollywood. I believe that with our prayers, we will walk into a season where Hollywood will no longer be the forgotten ones among the church body. I believe that with our prayers, celebrities can encounter the living God and find the fulfillment that they so desperately are looking for.

You may not be in the situation where you can up and move to Los Angeles to start ministering to artists, but you are always in a position where you can pray. And if we really believe that prayer changes things, let’s just start there. With prayer.

Pray that God will lead people to serve record label executives and introduce them to Christ.

Pray for artists to really find their voice in the one who gave it to them.

Prayer changes things. Prayer changes people. Prayer sets the captives free.

“Running” RYFO

“Running” RYFO
By: Simeon Lohrmann

We all have crossroads in our lives. These turning points serve as markers that shape the trajectory of what we do and who we become. Recently I was faced with a major crossroads, and both paths that presented themselves seemed good roads to take; stay part-time with RYFO as a volunteer, or transition to a full-time role. Can you guess which I chose? If you guessed the later, you are correct! Now three months into my role as Director of Operations, I feel led to provide you with a picture of what it means for me to be “Running” RYFO.

The picture above is from a photo shoot about 5 years ago. The photo shoot was done in support of my pursuits as a singer-songwriter. Two years prior to this picture I moved from Maryland to California with the intent of helping start RYFO, but at this point RYFO was the last thing on my mind. To be frank, at this season in life, my mind was set on myself; My image, My music and My future.

Since then my life’s purpose has completely changed! God has captured my heart, transformed my mind and redirected the trajectory of my life in more ways than I have time to share in this blog. At the core of it all lies a deepening passion for the mission of RYFO. This passion has emerged from my own experiences as a musician, my observation of the experiences of my close musician friends, and finally from three years as a volunteer for RYFO. I feel deeply honored to now be in charge of RYFO’s day-to-day operations.

One of the responsibilities of my new role is to set a budget and oversee RYFO’s fundraising efforts. To that end I wanted to take the opportunity to publicly thank our monthly financial supporters. RYFO would not exist without the faithful investment of these individuals. We are grateful for your faith in our Staff and Mission. Thank you for helping me “Run” RYFO!

 

RYFO currently receives $2,713 per month in support. Interested in joining RYFO’s monthly support team? Learn more on our Give page: Click Here.

All donations to RYFO are tax-deductible. RYFO is a DBA of First Baptist Church of Big Bear Valley, a 501(c)(3).