Ragamuffin – The True Story of Rich Mullins

Ragamuffin Gospel

Prior to watching this movie, I had NO IDEA how much Rich Mullins and I had in common!  As a matter of fact, I wasn’t confident I knew which Christian songs he wrote, although I had heard his name.  I was completely shocked to learn it was Amy Grant who first discovered his talent and recorded his first hit – Sing Your Praises to the Lord; as she was one of the first contemporary Christian artists I listened to.  And I remember the impact of THAT SONG on my life and how much I LOVED IT and SANG IT!

Early in the movie, they show a clip of Rich Mullins watching a movie in a theater about St. Francis of Assisi.  He is touched by the man living his life completely for Christ; taking vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty.

Prayer of St Francis 2

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

The movie shares the ups and downs of Rich Mullins’ life:  his musical success, the loss of his one and only love, his addiction to alcohol and his feelings of being lost and broken.  While riding in a car with a friend, he is reluctantly introduced to a man who changed his life and ministry forever.

Bennan Manning

Brennan Manning

His friend inserted a tape of a preacher, Brennan Manning, asking Rich Mullins to give it just ten minutes.  The tape shares the following message:

On judgement day, the Lord Jesus will ask only one question:  Did you believe that I loved you?  That I desired you?  That I waited for you day after day, that I longed to hear the sound of your voice?  The real believers will respond, I believed in your love and tried to shape my life as a response to it.  Many of us, faithful to our ministry, our practice, and church going, will answer, no Sir, frankly, I didn’t believe it.  That’s the difference between a real believer and a nominal Christian bound in churches across the land.  No one can measure, like a believer, the depth and intensity of our God’s love.  Then again, no one like a believer can measure the effectiveness of our gloom, pessimism, low self-esteem, self-hatred and despair, that block God’s way to us.  That’s why it’s so important we lay hold of this basic truth of our faith, because you’re only going to be as big as your own concept of God.  When we see God in our OWN image, He ends us being as fussy, rude, narrow minded, unloving, and unforgiving as we are.  God is too small for most believers, He has not been revealed to them by Jesus Christ who comes at this very moment to your side and says I know every skeleton in your closet, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and His word to us is this:  I dare you to trust that I love you JUST AS YOU ARE, not as you should be, because none of us are as we should be.

After hearing Brennan Manning’s message, Rich Mullins pulled off the road and wept.  He sought out Brennan Manning’s counsel.  Brennan shares many truths with Rich, to include his own addiction to alcohol and his love for whiskey.  Brennan asks Rich Mullins if he’s free and he responds he is NOT and continually fights a battle of darkness.  Brennan enlightens Rich that we are all battling darkness.  He explains that a ragamuffin is not ashamed to be a ragamuffin, he is a beggar at the door of God’s mercy, realizing he is a lover and seeker of God.

I was introduced to Brennan Manning by a dear friend who recommended his book:  The Ragamuffin Gospel.

Ragamuffin Book BManning

I have read and continue to read this book.  I would highly recommend it to everyone I know.

When Rich finally hit bottom, when his father’s disappointment in him continually haunted him, he cried out to Jesus, his King of glory.  Brennan called Rich, knowing he was in a bad place, and asked how hungover he was and invited him to come away on a retreat, of sorts.  They left the same day.  Brennan shared that Jesus taught His disciples to pray “Abba Father.”  Rich shared his difficulty in calling God Father, due to the relationship he had with his own father. Brennan instructed Rich to write a letter from his father (who had passed away) to himself, sharing how much he loved him.  Rich was able to hear his dad apologize for being so hard on him and explained that he loved him.  He shared his letter with Brennan the following morning, which explained how his dad meant to help him become stronger, and that he didn’t understand him, along with many fathers of his time who had done the same thing to their sons and daughters.  Rich was freed forever.

At one of his concerts after that, he shared with the audience:  We don’t have to impress God, He’s already knocked out by you.  He loves all of us, even though we’re unworthy.  He takes the messiness and ugliness of our lives and makes something beautiful out of it.  I hope you have an opportunity to encounter Him.

Rich Mullins was killed in an automobile accident on September 19, 1997, near midnight, outside of Peoria, Illinois.  The cause of the accident was unknown.  Rich had been writing the music for what had been called the “Jesus Album.”  The week prior to his death, he sat down at an old piano in an abandoned church and recorded each song with a cassette recorder.  He had told several people close to him that it would be his most important work. Even though Rich made considerably more, he asked his accountant to only give him a monthly allowance that was whatever the average working person lived on.  The rest was given away to churches and charities.  Rich never knew how much money he actually made.

Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins

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Bookmarkers Bookclub

Butterfly and Violin

Earlier this summer, I joined an amazing book club.  They pick the MOST AMAZING books and I really enjoy discussing them with the members when we finish!  This month we’re reading The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron and I must say, it’s incredible!

This book is Kristy Cambron’s masterpiece debut, and I LOVE THE COVER!!!!  I’ll have more to post when I finish the book!  This book is my afternoon treat for the commute home!!!!

My Awesome Co-workers Surprised me TODAY!

Although I made the decision NOT to share my birthday with my co-workers, I really wanted them to find out and celebrate with me!  As I mentioned, I LOVE BIRTHDAYS and I LOVE PRESENTS!

At the end of the day, it became obvious no one knew it was my birthday and I left with no celebration.  Although I was a bit sad, I realized even though no one else knew it was my birthday, I KNEW, and I FELT SPECIAL!

Today, I decided to share the fact that yesterday was my birthday with my supervisor.  Deep down, I think she was tickled because I was so proud of my huge accomplishment (by not telling anyone!).  About two minutes later, I was called to a meeting in the conference room where my coworkers had bought LUNCH, PRESENTS, AND CAKE to celebrate ME!!!!  I WAS SO EXCITED!!!!!  They overheard my supervisor’s supervisor wishing me a Happy Birthday and felt terrible that they missed my birthday.

Although I didn’t have my camera at the time, I managed to take this picture of the adorable Birthday Card for this post!

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 I was VERY BLESSED by my co-workers!  Such an amazing Birthday Celebration!

THE picture of my birth-mother and sisters!

So, this is truly NOT the best picture in the world, but honestly, it’s the only picture we took!  You know how it goes when you’re busy talking and catching up on the past FIFTY ONE years of your life.

My trip to TN

My Sister Terrie, Me, My Birth-Mother, and My Sister Diane

It is such a pleasure to be a part of their family!

Yesterday, September 17th, was my birthday!

For the first time in my life, I decided not to tell anyone it was my birthday.  You may think it’s no big deal, but for me, it’s HUGE!  You see, I LOVE CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY and I love presents too!  The more the merrier!

Recently, God placed me in a situation where I was exposed to women that didn’t want to share their birthday with others.  Honestly, I thought it was the strangest thing I had ever seen.  Emotional intelligence became the topic of discussion and I learned that “doing unto others as you would have done to you” doesn’t always work out the way you thought.  I learned that some people are private and for one reason or another, they don’t want to share their personal information with anyone else.  So, I thought I’d give it a try myself this year.  I didn’t like it.

Some of the people that remembered my birthday are highlighted below:

The first person to wish me a Happy Birthday was my mother-in-law.  She sent me a text message early in the morning and my father-in-law delivered this beautiful card (and gift) later in the day.  I LOVED IT!

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 The next person to wish me a Happy Birthday was my recently located SISTER!  In April 2014 she discovered she had a baby sister and in September she made my birthday a priority.  Not only did she text me a Happy Birthday message in the morning, a birthday card was waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home!

Diane and Me May 2014  20140918_174644

Later in the day, I received a voice message from someone I currently work with wishing me a Happy Birthday.  I have NO IDEA HOW HE FOUND OUT it was my birthday!  But I was touched!  A little later in the day, I received an email Happy Birthday wish from a lady I worked with about eight years ago!  Out of the blue!  I was SHOCKED and touched!  A few minutes later my supervisor’s supervisor came to my desk to wish me a Happy Birthday.  I don’t know how she knew it was my birthday because I decided not to tell anyone at work!

After I left the office for the day, my husband and children all wished me a Happy Birthday.  My husband made sure I had a special Birthday dinner and my daughters helped!

Family Christmas 2013

My son and Granddaughter called to SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  What a special treat!

Peter and Harper

When I jumped on Facebook, I received Happy Birthday wishes from three very special women!  One friend from Church, one friend from childhood, and one from work and Church!

Margie Stallings Heidi Labowski Carolyn Marshall

Today, I received a VERY SPECIAL Birthday card in the mail.  The VERY FIRST Birthday card I ever received from my birth-mother.  If it weren’t for her, I would never have had a birthday to celebrate.  I’m extremely grateful!

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I decided, even though I never requested permission, I JUST HAVE to share her picture with you.  I have a feeling you’ll notice the resemblance.

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WE want to be led by HIS Spirit!

 simulcast

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 7 Points to Beth Moore’s Simulcast

1.  We are one gathering of many women yearning for God to speak!
2.  Jesus changes the story of EVERY WOMAN He meets!
3.  Jesus wants a woman to know WHO she is and WHAT she is NOT!
4.  Sometimes a woman needs a clean sweep to find what she’s missing.
5.  A woman’s joy is not the same without girlfriends to share it.
6.  All of Heaven rejoices over a lost woman found!
7.  Every woman is well able to share how Jesus is changing her story!