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Rich Mullins: A Devotional Biography: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven

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During his life, Rich Mullins challenged the sensibilities of what it means to follow Jesus in today's world, and now in his death, he challenges all to build upon his legacy of joy, compassion, brokenness, unblinking honesty, and wonder of an Awesome God


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During his life, Rich Mullins challenged the sensibilities of what it means to follow Jesus in today's world, and now in his death, he challenges all to build upon his legacy of joy, compassion, brokenness, unblinking honesty, and wonder of an Awesome God

30 review for Rich Mullins: A Devotional Biography: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This is one of the most inspirational books I've ever read. When I closed that last page, I grieved that I never knew Rich Mullins--and determined to be more like him. He had a grasp of the undentable, unbreakable, unending love of God like few people I've known.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Merriman

    This book is - without a doubt - the one that has changed my life the most. Since I first stumbled on it maybe eight or nine years ago, I've probably loaned my copy to a dozen people, only to never get it back because it has touched and affected each and every one as much as it did me. I've never had anyone tell me that this book did not change the way they think about religion, faith, walking with Christ and what it means to be a Christian. I was not a huge fan of Rich Mullins' music prior to r This book is - without a doubt - the one that has changed my life the most. Since I first stumbled on it maybe eight or nine years ago, I've probably loaned my copy to a dozen people, only to never get it back because it has touched and affected each and every one as much as it did me. I've never had anyone tell me that this book did not change the way they think about religion, faith, walking with Christ and what it means to be a Christian. I was not a huge fan of Rich Mullins' music prior to reading this but afterward I made it a point to hear everything he'd ever recorded. I still considered his "type" of music to be too "folksy" for me but it is the honest vulnerability that comes across in his pieces that makes it impossible not to respect. This man put every thought, image and feeling he ever experienced into a song, either through melody or words, and nothing I've heard comes close to what he's accomplished in that sense. That being said, this biography is a realistic portrayal Mullins' walk with Christ. It gives the account of his struggles to accept the God he followed and how difficult that sometimes made each day. He was so deeply entrenched in Christ that his attitude towards anything else - including, sometimes, the desires of his fellow human beings - came across as decidedly self-absorbed. He had very pronounced flaws, as do we all, but what set him apart was his desire to spotlight them rather than hide them away. He put them into words and set them to music, and this biography is just another avenue used to highlight what true authenticity as a Christian looks like. Each chapter uses one of his songs as a focal point for its subject - family, growth, heartbreak, death - and it illuminates what his likely thought process was when songwriting in a way that makes it impossible for the reader not to respect and enjoy the end product. This book is incredible, in such a way that I would even recommend it to non-believers as a great view into what the heart of a Christian should truly look like: doubtful, scared, broken and yet still utterly hopeful and trusting in what God has prepared. Rich Mullins wanted nothing more than to be with God who made him, even if that creation was broken, beat up and despaired. He is the kind of person that Amazing Grace was made for. As are we all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eric North

    The truth expressed through Rich Mullins life is affecting me as I think about everything I read. Here's a tid bit that Rich Mullins once wrote that I think gives a good representation as to the character and impact of this book... "I think one thing that is threatening to a good many of us is that we think, If people really knew me they'd never believe in Jesus. And I want to say, "No, that's exactly wrong." People will never know Jesus as long as we choose to hide ourselves. I don't think that The truth expressed through Rich Mullins life is affecting me as I think about everything I read. Here's a tid bit that Rich Mullins once wrote that I think gives a good representation as to the character and impact of this book... "I think one thing that is threatening to a good many of us is that we think, If people really knew me they'd never believe in Jesus. And I want to say, "No, that's exactly wrong." People will never know Jesus as long as we choose to hide ourselves. I don't think that necessarily means I need to go out and get on the radio to announce my private sins. I think I can be very honest without being hurtful to people. Rich was constantly aware of his own destitution, and constantly pointed to Jesus as the one who loved him and the source of his life. I'm going to read this book again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I had pretty high expectations for this book. A very inspirational Christian friend of mine described it as "life-changing." For that reason, I think I started out slightly disappointed, as the beginning seemed to be along the same lines as other Christian books I'd read in the past, but as I read on and delved more deeply into Rich's life, my opinion changed. Many thought provoking topics are discussed in complete honesty, and these allow the reader to explore where he is in life and where he w I had pretty high expectations for this book. A very inspirational Christian friend of mine described it as "life-changing." For that reason, I think I started out slightly disappointed, as the beginning seemed to be along the same lines as other Christian books I'd read in the past, but as I read on and delved more deeply into Rich's life, my opinion changed. Many thought provoking topics are discussed in complete honesty, and these allow the reader to explore where he is in life and where he wants to be. By the end I was deeply moved and inspired (& brought to tears on a couple occasions.) I would recommend this book to anyone seeking a closer relationship with God, and a deeper, truer understanding of a Christian's place in life than he/she has yet to find.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris Bates

    The amazing life of Rich Mullins was tragically lost in Sept. '97. He was truly the fireball during his lifetime with his endless recordings and ministry to the Navaho Indians in NM. And he went out like Elijah in a whirlwind. "Awesome God" and "Sometimes by Step" will remain classics. I had the privilege to attend one of his concerts in Louisiana which was interrupted by a tornado warning during which he led worship acoustically in the bunker. His ending song after we were back in the auditoriu The amazing life of Rich Mullins was tragically lost in Sept. '97. He was truly the fireball during his lifetime with his endless recordings and ministry to the Navaho Indians in NM. And he went out like Elijah in a whirlwind. "Awesome God" and "Sometimes by Step" will remain classics. I had the privilege to attend one of his concerts in Louisiana which was interrupted by a tornado warning during which he led worship acoustically in the bunker. His ending song after we were back in the auditorium had the audience continuing to worship while he slipped off stage without the applause and fan fair - his humble life and ministry pointed to worshipping God instead of himself.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kate Rice McHugh

    This is one case where I think perhaps the movie is better than the book. I loved the innumerable quotes from Rich Mullins' private and public writings shared throughout this biography -- but the 2014 movie RAGAMUFFIN does a bit better job delving into his struggles and triumphs. The emotional tenor of the movie resonated more deeply for me, as the person of Rich Mullins felt more real. The book was written within three years of Rich's death (published in 2000), with the stated purpose of drawing This is one case where I think perhaps the movie is better than the book. I loved the innumerable quotes from Rich Mullins' private and public writings shared throughout this biography -- but the 2014 movie RAGAMUFFIN does a bit better job delving into his struggles and triumphs. The emotional tenor of the movie resonated more deeply for me, as the person of Rich Mullins felt more real. The book was written within three years of Rich's death (published in 2000), with the stated purpose of drawing out devotional insights for the reader to grow from. Sometimes those Christian-application segments felt just too tidy. Many of Rich's ideas of how Christianity should be lived out were conveyed to the reader as though they were utterly revolutionary, which also started to feel a little overbearing. This may simply reveal the growth that has taken place in the Christian community since the height of Rich's ministry in the 1990s. Thankfully, it is no longer shocking to insist that the church seek to aid in social justice causes and prioritize helping the disenfranchised. It might be time for a new edition of this book, commenting on how Rich truly helped to guide the American Christian mindset toward a more Christ-like worldview. If your goal is to experience who Rich was, I'd suggest watching the movie first, then reading the biography for further details.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    This book is best read slowly. It is written more like a devotional than a biography, with small sketches that focus on a different attribute of Rich Mullins' character or spiritual growth. I appreciated that the author did not elevate Mullins as being perfect, but showed that he had flaws and struggles like everyone else. At the same time, the author tried to look for something positive even within the flaws, which would be a good thing if we could all do that with our brothers and sisters in t This book is best read slowly. It is written more like a devotional than a biography, with small sketches that focus on a different attribute of Rich Mullins' character or spiritual growth. I appreciated that the author did not elevate Mullins as being perfect, but showed that he had flaws and struggles like everyone else. At the same time, the author tried to look for something positive even within the flaws, which would be a good thing if we could all do that with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. After all this time, Rich's music still resonates in my soul. I find myself coming back to those lyrics time after time. What a gift we had!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    This book totally rocked my world.. Woke me out of sleep and stirred my passions once again. I had the opportunity to see Rich Mullins in concert when I was younger, and it was one of the most anointed concerts I have ever seen in my life. I remember him at one point playing cups filled with water. He was an extremely humble man and would stand around with bare feet talking/ministering to the people who had come to worship at his concerts. He was an amazing man - and this book allows you to see This book totally rocked my world.. Woke me out of sleep and stirred my passions once again. I had the opportunity to see Rich Mullins in concert when I was younger, and it was one of the most anointed concerts I have ever seen in my life. I remember him at one point playing cups filled with water. He was an extremely humble man and would stand around with bare feet talking/ministering to the people who had come to worship at his concerts. He was an amazing man - and this book allows you to see more deeply into what shaped him.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wade Allen

    This is the third time that I have read this book over the years. It is a tremendous telling of a life well lived. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who strives to live in the Kingdom of God. Rich understood what it means to follow Jesus. Through brokenness, courage, a willingness to give it all up, we find true meaning in life. I have always admired and loved Rich's music. This book reminds me of why this is the case.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    In music and lyrics, Rich Mullins was a modern day artist and poet. This book chronicles a lot of the background and depth that breathes life into his words and songs. Rich Mullins lived a vivid picture of the Sermon on the Mount and many of Jesus's teachings, a refreshing memorial amidst religion and Christianity that often drift away from premises of the Savior and are mired in many other distractions, both religious and secular. In his music and his life, Rich Mullins loved to focus on Jesus -- In music and lyrics, Rich Mullins was a modern day artist and poet. This book chronicles a lot of the background and depth that breathes life into his words and songs. Rich Mullins lived a vivid picture of the Sermon on the Mount and many of Jesus's teachings, a refreshing memorial amidst religion and Christianity that often drift away from premises of the Savior and are mired in many other distractions, both religious and secular. In his music and his life, Rich Mullins loved to focus on Jesus -- the beginning and the end of what makes up Christianity. And, yet, so often, it seems that Jesus and his teachings are an afterthought in all the doctrine and busyness that consumes churches. Rich was very human, and this book shows that as well. But that is refreshing, too; Rich wasn't trying to be a "super pastor" or a "celebrity Christian musician". Rich was an "arrow pointing to heaven" -- reminding us that we are flawed humans down here on earth, that we do need to look up and around (at God, His creation, His love for us), and that we need a Savior -- Jesus Christ.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    I don't know what drew me to Rich Mullins music, but it had such appeal to me, beyond the most popular songs which have become familiar to many. He wrote with such understanding and depth about life and the world and God. It was art set to music. There was something so real about him and he didn't seem to care about the marketing and showmanship that characterize so many Christian musicians. I saw him in concert the same year that he died, and always wanted to know more about this unique person. I don't know what drew me to Rich Mullins music, but it had such appeal to me, beyond the most popular songs which have become familiar to many. He wrote with such understanding and depth about life and the world and God. It was art set to music. There was something so real about him and he didn't seem to care about the marketing and showmanship that characterize so many Christian musicians. I saw him in concert the same year that he died, and always wanted to know more about this unique person. I found this book in the way I have found so many - by entering the store to look for something specific, seeing this, and leaving with it instead. I get drawn to books sometimes, and they always prove to be something extraordinary. I can recommend this book to anyone, whether they have any idea who Rich was or not. He was not a "saint", but was passionately searching for an authentic faith all of his life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The life of Rich Mullins inspires me, and most of what I know about Rich comes from this book. An easy read, Mr. Smith has broken the book down into the ten things Rich held dearest in life. The result is a book that weaves strands of biography and devotional together, breaking open the life of a restless man who was completely devoted to following his God, the God he knew personally through Scripture. Rich earnestly sought to know the heart of God, and refused to let himself be swayed by the pr The life of Rich Mullins inspires me, and most of what I know about Rich comes from this book. An easy read, Mr. Smith has broken the book down into the ten things Rich held dearest in life. The result is a book that weaves strands of biography and devotional together, breaking open the life of a restless man who was completely devoted to following his God, the God he knew personally through Scripture. Rich earnestly sought to know the heart of God, and refused to let himself be swayed by the prevailing notions of the day. Unfortunately, Rich Mullins died in a Jeep accident in 1997. His legacy lives on in spite of his death in the lives of many that he challenged, including me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    We all know Rich Mullin's song Awesome God.. and we love it. But that wasn't even one he really liked. His music has touched us, but his life is even more incredible. I love a good story about a rebel who follows his heart and ends up doing amazing things with his life, regardless of society's standards. I have great appreciation for this man after reading his story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Great book, I have so much highlighted to go back and read again. I have always loved his music, now I have more understanding of the lyrics.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Todd

    My dad’s favorite musician, Rich Mullins, has been often referenced and quoted in my home and this biography moved me for modern day 'ragamuffins.' I have been severely challenged and convicted by Rich’s going-for-broke legacy and eternity mindset. This clear-eyed biography leaves me hungry for greater oneness with Jesus.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    well, the marketing for this book was a massive failure, as i thought it would be some cheesy devotional. thankfully my friend owned a copy he let me borrow, and let me know it's authored by a guy who was friends with and lived with Rich for a while. it features a lot of quotes from Rich and still has some weird cheesy devotional stuff but overall it was really lovely.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Green

    There is no book that I can think of that strikes me harder than An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. I do not read through this book; I cry through it. Granted not every chapter struck me terribly hard, but the majority did. I long to live life with the same passion and intensity as this man. I long to be free to love as he did and experience "the reckless raging fury they call the love of God" as he did. Smith accurately calls it a devotional biography. It is indeed an explanation of Rich Mullins' life There is no book that I can think of that strikes me harder than An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. I do not read through this book; I cry through it. Granted not every chapter struck me terribly hard, but the majority did. I long to live life with the same passion and intensity as this man. I long to be free to love as he did and experience "the reckless raging fury they call the love of God" as he did. Smith accurately calls it a devotional biography. It is indeed an explanation of Rich Mullins' life, but it seems almost as if it were written not quite for that purpose primarily. Instead, Smith takes 10 aspects of Rich's life and music that were impacting and powerful and made Rich who he was and displays how those points of truth, beauty, and love played out in the man's life, calling each reader to live with the same vibrancy and desire for God and others. Don't misunderstand; you'll still find a good overview of Rich's life as well as a number of beautiful details, but that almost feels secondary to the drive to urge us to make Rich's life our own. Which is exactly what Rich would have wanted, I imagine. He wanted people to know the love of God as he had and even more. He was, by his own admission, a ragamuffin, and his desire was to point to his savior, not himself. And that just made his soul that much more beautiful.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alex Parrish

    I have been a fan of Rich Mullins for many years, I saw him in concert a couple times before he died. This book, though, was an insight into his life that I never imagined. It is described as a, "devotional biography," and it accomplishes being that completely. Instead of a list of events in a person's life, we get insight into the spirit of the man who was Rich Mullins. There is a lot of humanity there, and in that humanity is deeper insight to following Jesus. I wish I had not waited so many y I have been a fan of Rich Mullins for many years, I saw him in concert a couple times before he died. This book, though, was an insight into his life that I never imagined. It is described as a, "devotional biography," and it accomplishes being that completely. Instead of a list of events in a person's life, we get insight into the spirit of the man who was Rich Mullins. There is a lot of humanity there, and in that humanity is deeper insight to following Jesus. I wish I had not waited so many years after his death to read this, but I don't know if I was at the place in my life then that I am now, a place where the message of this book would have had such a profound impact on me. There is great value between the covers of this piece, the value in seeing a way to follow Jesus while still being a real person.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David

    I have long wondered about Rich Mullins, so bought this book to round out my order and get free shipping from Amazon. I was disappointed. I gather that it does a good job of what it does, but it doesn't do what I expected. I was looking for a biography of Rich Mullins, and while this book does contain some of that you have to dig it out from among the ten devotionals the author offers. I do understand that the devotionals represent important aspects of life that Mullins'held dear, but I quit on I have long wondered about Rich Mullins, so bought this book to round out my order and get free shipping from Amazon. I was disappointed. I gather that it does a good job of what it does, but it doesn't do what I expected. I was looking for a biography of Rich Mullins, and while this book does contain some of that you have to dig it out from among the ten devotionals the author offers. I do understand that the devotionals represent important aspects of life that Mullins'held dear, but I quit on this one 100 pages from the end of the 264 page book. I kept thinking I would go back and finish it, nut never did, always finding something more interesting. I still hope to get a straight up biography someday, this one didn't satisfy my curiosity.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jacki

    I read this book in high school probably 5 or 6 times. I had quotes from it written on everything in my life & I was more influenced by it than any book before or sense. I hadn't read it since then & when I read it this time I was just as blown away. I love the combination of inspirational things, right beside the life of Rich Mullins who is someone that I greatly admire & was so inspirational to so many people. Just a beautifully written book with an equally beautiful message. I read this book in high school probably 5 or 6 times. I had quotes from it written on everything in my life & I was more influenced by it than any book before or sense. I hadn't read it since then & when I read it this time I was just as blown away. I love the combination of inspirational things, right beside the life of Rich Mullins who is someone that I greatly admire & was so inspirational to so many people. Just a beautifully written book with an equally beautiful message.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Phillips

    I initially read this book because of my love for Jesus. I immediately grew in my understanding of who God is and the incredibly depth of his love for me. I appreciate how rather than a chronological story of Rich's life the book walks through his theology, ideology, and his intimate understanding of how the father is enthralled by him. I'm planning to read this over and over, and would recommend others do the same!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alan Hale

    This is a biopic, of sorts, of musician Rich Mullins' life. I read it more for the wisdom that Rich Mullins had. The stuff he said makes you think of Christianity differently. Maybe the goal of Christlikeness isn't about doing more good and less bad, but to just be rest in being God's no matter what we do. Knowing in time, God will take care of the behavioral issues.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dwayne A Milley

    I read this book after a friend from Indiana posted a lyric of Rich Mullins on Facebook. In our subsequent conversation, I learned that Rich Mullins had lived in Indiana and that this book has been written about him. In the midst of reading this book, I had watched a video by Rob Bell entitled, “An introduction to Joy”, based from Ecclesiastes. Bell shares that life is only a vapor, and that in the midst of the struggles (and perhaps because of the struggles) we can know true joy. This devotional I read this book after a friend from Indiana posted a lyric of Rich Mullins on Facebook. In our subsequent conversation, I learned that Rich Mullins had lived in Indiana and that this book has been written about him. In the midst of reading this book, I had watched a video by Rob Bell entitled, “An introduction to Joy”, based from Ecclesiastes. Bell shares that life is only a vapor, and that in the midst of the struggles (and perhaps because of the struggles) we can know true joy. This devotional reflection on the life from Rich Mullins is both encouraging and challenging to help the reader live and love like Mullins. It’s fun to read some of the context around songs that he wrote. And it was good for my soul to learn more about how he lived his life to follow Jesus and Jesus teachings every day. I am glad I read this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christian Hamaker

    2.5 stars. Random and repetitive, this biography isn't objectionable so much as slapdash. It did make me want to listen to Rich's music again, which, along with the rest of my CCM collection, has been mostly collecting dust the past decade or more, but it feels pulled together from emails, notes and other types of correspondence, without much stitching. I enjoyed the CD that comes with the book, although with no sleeve, the CD got "lost" after the first listen. I must have popped it out of my ca 2.5 stars. Random and repetitive, this biography isn't objectionable so much as slapdash. It did make me want to listen to Rich's music again, which, along with the rest of my CCM collection, has been mostly collecting dust the past decade or more, but it feels pulled together from emails, notes and other types of correspondence, without much stitching. I enjoyed the CD that comes with the book, although with no sleeve, the CD got "lost" after the first listen. I must have popped it out of my car CD player and "filed it' for safe keeping somewhere. It'll turn up someday.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Josh Simons

    Reading about Rich Mullins' life is encouraging because it makes me feel not so crazy. I felt camaraderie with him throughout the book, like someone finally saw many things through the same lens as me. A few key theme takeaways for me were out of love, generosity, and redemption as it seems that these are areas God has been slowly reframing my sight on. Loved the book overall.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sally Brown

    A great book that challenged me to look within myself and reevaluate my priorities. So humbly and honestly written. Rich Mullin’s music speaks to me in ways no other music ever has. I finished the book and wanted to just start all over again and reread. It is a life changer-highly recommend this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    As someone who was not a fan of Rich Mullins, I don't recall how or why this wound up on my book shelf. But, by 1/2 way through the book I was still not interested in him. Perhaps fans will take more from the book than I did.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ted Redinbo

    This was a great book! It let you into the life of Rich Mullins. This book has helped me to draw to a closer walk with Christ. Rich shared his struggles, in life. It helps me to know even great people have struggles, this makes us stronger in our faith walk with God.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    What a fascinating and unique individual! Rich Mullins has become an inspiration during this time in my life where I feel like I had to go old school in order to energize my faith. The stories and songs will continue to tell of God’s love.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So much to think about and challenge me in my life. Rich was a man of incredible faith, and very much a person belonging to Christ.

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