michael larkin

voices in my head… by Michael
October 2, 2008, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Voices in my head

it – Craig Groeschel

“I’d argue that people today aren’t rejecting Christ so much as they’re rejecting the church.  Once, I asked a guy why he didn’t go to church.  He responded without hesitation, ‘Because I’ve already been.’

He came.  It didn’t happen.  So he never returned.”

  • How can we make sure Cinema Church helps change the way people view church?
  • How can we make sure the church isn’t a stumbling block to people finding life in Christ?
  • How can we provide an environment that ensures no one ever attends Cinema Church and claims they won’t be back because “they’ve already been”?

(PS-I am hoping this gets as much of a response as an entry about a logo option.)


todays instalment of voices in my head… by Michael
September 11, 2008, 9:31 am
Filed under: Voices in my head

“In the postmodern epoch that we must live in, the gospel needs to be incarnated in costly discipleship.  The world looks at the church and wants to see in our lives the marks of the cross – not the search for comfort, prestige, power, or fame.”

-Eldin Villafane

latest instalment of…voices in my head by Michael
July 31, 2008, 7:31 am
Filed under: Voices in my head

Recently read this, think it definitely needs to be shared with our church.  So, here it is:

Perry Noble,

An Incredibly Generous Teenager!

Last Sunday after a meeting I walked into my assistants office to read through the things she thought I needed to see.  On top of all of the mail was a cash envelope from a bank with a note written on it.  Trish (my assistant) said, “You REALLY need to read that!”

Like I said…it was a bank cash envelope with a note written on it…BUT…what was written on the note absolutely blew me away and caused me to be completely overwhelmed.  Inside the envelope was a cash gift to our church for $1,000 (which had already been removed!)  Here is what was written…

“I am a rising senior in high school.  I have saved up all of my job, birthday and Christmas money from the past 3 or 4 years, in this envelope.  God has laid it on my heart to surrender these earnings into His hands.  Thought it may seem a meager amount to the world, it is all that I have.  I give this gift freely and with a light heart; after all, this money isn’t really ‘mine’ to begin with.  God can and will provide for me far better than I ever could.  And it is an honor to know this money may help even just one person take even just a single step closer to God.  That is a gift worth any price.” (It was unsigned…so I have no idea who this was!)
I have a few thoughts on this…

#1 – I literally prayed for this person to become a multi-millionaire. Seriously, several times this week I paused and asked God to radically bless this person in the future financially.  Why?  Because they have proven that they can be faithful with the little things!  (See Luke 16:10-13)  If God can trust them with thousands now…He can trust them with millions in the future.  This person knows that God has blessed them so they can give!

#2 – Though they thought this gift was “meager,” it actually falls into the “generous” category. I read a few years ago (although the numbers are probably around the same today) that only around 6% of people who call themselves evangelical Christians tithe.  AND…the average gift given to a church by an adult is around $600 for a year.  (Compared to the fact that each adult also spends and average of $900 per year on coffee drinks…and $1,000 a year taking care of their pets!)

Whoever you are…this gift was generous!!!  Thank you!

#3 – God will use people like this to change the world! This gift reminded me of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in John 6:1-14.  The part I always focus on in this miracle is John 6:8-9, I believe the miracle actually took place here…where a young boy gave his entire lunch and gave it to Jesus.  You see, in his hands it was nothing more than a meal…but in the hands of Jesus it was a miracle.  AND…because he was completely unselfish…around 15-20k people received food!

I’ve said it before…and I will say it again…God’s Kingdom’s biggest problem isn’t the evil one…it’s greedy Christians!  BUT…when people overcome greed and begin to get generous…amazing things happen.  Here at NewSpring Church I am so grateful for the generous giving of our people…because of it we have been able to see thousands of lives changed for Christ…and our best days are yet to come.

#4 – This is radical and extreme obedience in action. Jesus said it in Matthew 6:21, that where our treasure is…that is where our hearts will be…and this young person took a tangible step to demonstrate to the Lord that they fully belong to Him.  I once heard Ron Lewis, a friend of mine, say, “Until we surrender our wallet to God–our walk with Him will always contain a limp!”

God asked this young person to cash out…and they did!  That’s amazing!  Question…has God ever asked you to do something amazingly generous?  Do you have the courage to ask Him if He wants you to?

#5 – God changes the world with people like this! Let me say it one more time–generous givers are a key in advancing God’s Kingdom.  This gift went WAY beyond a tithe!  In Acts 4:36-37 we see the church growing like crazy…and Barnabas comes forward and gives an incredibly generous gift to allow the church to continue to do ministry!  AMAZING!

Whoever you are–thank you!  Seriously, you are fulfilling II Corinthians 8:7!  And II Corinthians 9:6-15 is true…and it will be true for you!

For the person who may say, “Well yeah, this person is a teenager.  They obviously have parents who will provide for their needs…so they CAN give like this.  But you see…I have blah blah blah…”

Um, here’s the deal…this person probably does have earthly parents who will take care of them.  BUT…the Scripture says that we have a heavenly Father who will take care of us!!!  Malachi 3:10-12 is a promise from Him, will you trust Him?

I can’t say “thank you” enough to whoever you are (and to all of the generous givers around here!)  God is changing lives…and all of you are part of it!

voices in my head…launching large by Michael
July 17, 2008, 8:54 am
Filed under: Voices in my head

It is Thursday again.  Which means it is almost Friday!  Who is excited about that?  And MOST IMPORTANTLY IT IS ALMOST SUNDAY, which means CINEMA CHURCH !!!!!!  Well, it also means that it is time to share with you some of the voices that are in my head.  It is time again to share what I allow to speak into my life and our church.  This particular post came 2 days AFTER our Give Back Project.

Launching Large: Part 1

Last year, I led a breakout session at the churchplanters.com conference (a great conference for church planters, by the way).  I found my notes the other day and thought I would post some additional thoughts here in the hopes that this will help or encourage somebody.  Here’s principle 1:

Don’t just tell the vision, be the vision.

After our first preview service (I taught on the prodigal son), I was planning to talk about the core values and vision for our church at our second preview.  One of the members of our launch team said, “That’s cool and all, but I’m going to invite some people and I’m sure they would like for you to teach a real message.”

The it dawned on me…vision messages are important, but it’s more important for people to experience it.  I can talk about our core values, or I can just put them in play and let people see for themselves.  I’ve been guilty of telling people what we’re going to do, and while we must certainly communicate the why, people generally believe what they hear; they buy into what they see.

  • You may teach a message about your mission statement, but why not film a video of a personal story that embodies it.  Then point to the story and say “That’s the vision.”
  • You can talk about wanting to be a generous church.  But why not just give a few thousand dollars away and tell your church, “here’s what you guys did?”
  • You can talk all you want about the core value of excellence, but maybe you need to spend a little more money on printing and signage and show people.
Don’t just teach the vision; be the vision.
I am pumped to be a part of a church that isn’t just talking about what we will do.  We are ALREADY DOING!  To see how we are BEING the vision and BEING the church visit our Give Back Project and check out some of the comments that are already coming in.
Thanks Cinema Church, and thank you Directional Team for helping us to BE the church!

leading laggards…voices in my head by Michael
July 10, 2008, 10:46 am
Filed under: Voices in my head

If you haven’t been to my blog on a Thursday here is what I like to do… Every Thursday I like to pass along some of what I am allowing into my life.  Some voices that get to speak into my life.  I believe this to be true… You are who you are, and where you are, because of the people around you and the people who speak into your life.  So, every Thursday you get a glimpse into who and what I allow to speak into my life and our ministry.

In an organization with 100 people:

  • 20 people are doers.
  • With a leader.
  • 80 are hanging around watching, experimenting, consuming, or complaining.
  • When the 20 expand to 40, chances are there’s 200 now in the organization (or will be).
  • The 20 tend to get frustrated with the 80 for not doing anything and at times will tell them. (They should avoid that.)
  • The 80 will ride the coattails of the 20 and feel like they did it and even take credit for it.
  • This sometimes frustrates the 20. They should not be frustrated. They should just do.
  • Great leaders pour vision into the 20 while casting the net out to the 100.
  • Frustrated leaders spend a lot of time trying to get the 80 be part of the 20.
  • Of the 80, some will become doers as the organization grows.
  • The doers that simply do will some day realize there are people following them.
  • Some of the 80 will become part of the 20 with a simple personal invite.
  • A leader will be turned down 4 times for every yes. This does not bother great leaders. It frustrates others.
  • Frustrated leaders have the opportunity to be great leaders.

I have to admit, I have spent way to much time trying to get the “80” to be a part of the “20”.  I must work on this and move on.

Original Post HERE

Another great post with very similar thoughts HERE

And to all of those who are not “laggards” I must appologize for allowing so much of my time and energy to go to those who are not yet on board.  I will do better with this, I hope.

the goal of the church…voices in my head by Michael
July 3, 2008, 5:17 am
Filed under: Voices in my head

This one is really big for Cinema Church.  Because of the way we are going about launching this church we definitely have to be careful that we don’t become insider focused.  I do not see Cinema Church having a problem with being us four and no more.  However, it is something that I am well aware could happen.  Here is a blog entry from Michael at Oak Leaf Church that could help us stay focused on our true mission:

The Goal of Church
Michael in You Can Know God

One criticism of large churches, or video churches, or ________ churches is that you can’t know everybody.  Where did we get the idea that the goal of church is to know everybody?  I don’t find that anywhere in my Bible.  When Jesus left the planet, he commissioned the disciples with a mission…Go into all the world and make disciples.  That’s the mission of the church, not learning every fact from the pictoral directory.

When people start talking about the church getting too big to know everyone, it’s a sign that they are not embracing the true mission of the Church.  When a person starts talking about not having the cell phone number of the pastor, it’s a sign that he’s interested in knowing the pastor and not necessarily becoming a better Christian.

By the way, sometimes, 50 person churches are hard to break into, beacause the people there already know each other and a newbie is just an outsider.

the right people…voices in my head by Michael
June 26, 2008, 5:25 am
Filed under: Voices in my head

Recently read this on Craig Groeschels blog.  I like to put things like this on my blog so that everyone at Cinema Church can see who and what I allow to speak into my life.  Here is what Craig Groeschel recently had to say:

Selecting the right people to serve around you is one of the most important things you’ll do in ministry. The right people can help you reach many more for Christ. The wrong people can hold you back like a thousand-pound anchor.

This week, let’s discuss how to pick the right people.

Today I’ll list ten of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on selecting great people:

  1. Character is more important than giftedness.
  2. God often uses those others overlook.
  3. My wife is almost always a better judge about people than I am.
  4. Past success is a good indicator of future success.
  5. There is often a reason someone is looking for a job.
  6. Teach-ability is non-negotiable.
  7. When I’m trying to talk myself into liking someone, it’s best to move on.
  8. People from within the organization typically have a huge advantage over those who are from without.
  9. One of the best ways to attract better leaders is to become a better leader.
  10. We’re all better off when we pray, listen, and obey.