The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Examples of Really Bad Gospel Magic?? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

shouksmiths
View Profile
Regular user
York, England
115 Posts

Profile of shouksmiths
Magic with a message is a tricky thing to do...and not seem very cheesy or just bad communication.

Gospel magic is always something I've struggled with and one of the blessings of FCMUK has been the ability to see other UK magicians do good relevant (and funny) gospel presentations.

I'm beginnning to get it....get the message and then select the trick - rather than having a routine or trick and tagging the gospel message on top.

It's always good to learn from our mistakes and I wondered if anyone was willing to share (no names mentioned) any examples of gospel magic that they've seen or done themselves...that was bad, cheesy or just cringe worthy.
Sam Sandler
View Profile
Inner circle
2254 Posts

Profile of Sam Sandler
No I don't think we need to list bad examples - lets focus on how to improve instead

3 things you must do to properly present Gospel magic and "earn the right to be heard" that is my quote.

1-your magic show MUST be polished and professional. regardless if you are full time or a weekend warrior, your routines (not just the gospel ones) must be presented in a professional mannor

2--you MUST have several routines that have nothing to do with the Gospel or bible tricks, or part of your theme. just have some fun love your audience with some good fun magic routines

3--make it personal. your Gospel magic should include some personal stories from your own life. it is one thing to quote bible verses and talk about What God has done in the bible but it will make more of an impact on your audience, adult or children if you can RELATE to them by sharing some of the things God has done in your own life. of course relate this to the theme you are presenting whether it be a VBS theme of giving, or Love or wh at ever or if you are actually presenting the Gospel and offering an opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

there is more to it but these are the 3 main points that we need to focus on.


have a great day in the lord

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
GaryLee
View Profile
Loyal user
276 Posts

Profile of GaryLee
How about

#1- a real true authentic relationship with Jesus Christ
#2- A real understanding of the Gospels
#3- A real desire to entertain people and be a witness for Christ in all you do.

I personally believe your three things that "must" be done properly is rather just your own opinion, and is NOT a must. I have seen a lot of bad Gospel magic, and I personally believe it's because they think they earn a right to be listened to because they showed people some magic tricks. Really? You think magic tricks earn you talk time? When they do talk they seem to not be very clear about what the Bible says. They try to witness but all they do is talk about themselves instead of Jesus Christ.

"You MUST have several routines that have nothing to do with the Gospel or bible tricks, or part of your theme." Is that a rule someonewhere, or are you just making these up as you go along?

I won't even commit on number three, because some Christians actually call putting themselves above God to be blasphamy.
Sam Sandler
View Profile
Inner circle
2254 Posts

Profile of Sam Sandler
Garylee- the 3 things you listed I guess I took for granted and assumed that they already new that. and agree they are important

to answer your concerns or questions about my comments

they are not my opinion but rather what I have learned over the last 25 years of being a magician and illusionist and watching hundreds of gospel magicians perform.

first yes if you SUCK at performing your magic show then no matter what you do most if not all will hardly care about the Gospel portion of the show. you have not earned the right to be heard. I don't think magic tricks earn me the right to be heard I think putting on a professional show earns me the ears of those in my audience to want to then hear what I will share during the gospel portion of the show.

Of course GOD can use anything and anyone regardless of how good or bad they are and He does however to have a more effective wittness with our shows then yes we need to have a more polished show. this is not an opinion this is fact. what do I base that fact on.
first my own life and over 6000 live shows, talking with other full time magicians and illusionst such as Andre Kole, Duane Laflin, Toby travis and many others


You stated:
"You MUST have several routines that have nothing to do with the Gospel or bible tricks, or part of your theme." Is that a rule someonewhere, or are you just making these up as you go along?

shhhh yes some times I do make it up as I go along however this time NO I am not making this up. I have witnessed many performances where the performer has everysingle trick with a message. the kids got board the kids lost interest the kids could not remember half of what was shared as it was over load.
YES we must just love our audience and spend some quality fun time with them and I recomend doing this first then a few thru out the show. this will make the learning portions STAND OUT and have more impact.


as for #3 WHAT! what the heck are you talking about- putting themselves above God! inever said such a thing that's just foolishness. you need to read #3 again!

YES make it personal! I am not nor did I say put yourself above God I said share how God has influenced your life. what has He done in your life now that you are a child of God. you are telling these kids, parents to believe in God and quote lots of scripture and perform some great object lessons with magic but until you make it persoanl I think and yes I guess this is my opinion after 25 years of performing thousands of shows, lecturing and sharing the Gospel with millions - that making it personal is what will have the most impact on your audience.

think about this

I as some one who never did drugs or drank alcohol were to get up and preach to a bunch of teens that most likely have delt with these things and shared with them why they should not do drugs and get drunk. Although I would share some meaniningful stories and some great insights I would fall flat compared to some else that had been a drug addict and drunk and then found Jesus.

they would be able to share about their own lives and their PERSONAL story and that will have much more impact on the audience then anything I could have shared.

this is not an opinion this is fact I have witness this over and over again in my own life since sharing my personal testimony.

again I will say this of course it all starts with any one of us needing to have a personal and deep intamate relationship with GOD.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
shouksmiths
View Profile
Regular user
York, England
115 Posts

Profile of shouksmiths
Quote:
On 2011-12-05 07:47, Sam Sandler wrote:
No I don't think we need to list bad examples - lets focus on how to improve instead



Sam - Yes I think it would be useful to share our bad experiences - as often we learn most from our mistakes and secondly it's healthy to laugh at ourselves. ;-)

For example I once did the arm chopper on our Vicar - it was all about having faith - and was so convincing that afterwards I was horrified to discover that his son was actually quite scared... Learning point for me there....

And of course there was a time when Mrs Vicar came up to me after a show and said 'Mark you are so much better than last year'.
Sam Sandler
View Profile
Inner circle
2254 Posts

Profile of Sam Sandler
Maybe I misunderstood your question. I was under the impression that you wanted us to mention (but no names) other magicians that screwed up or had bad presentaions.

what I gather you are asking is if any of us care to share THEIR own mistakes or problems if so then yes by all means go for it.

sorry I mis understood although my info is very important and hope many will take a look at it and apply as it fits for them to meet their own needs

as for bad examples sure I have had a few

I once tried long ago to use professors nightmare as a gospel lesson and screwed the trick up not once but 3 times! ugh
I once was sharing a bible lesson and as I started to perform the effect forgot that I had not reset it from another show and had to cover as to why I took it off the table and turned around to do "something"

it happens.

but as I mentioned I focused on gospel magic in a very different way early on in my carreer.

have fun

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
stempleton
View Profile
Special user
909 Posts

Profile of stempleton
Quote:
On 2011-12-05 06:24, shouksmiths wrote:

I'm beginnning to get it....get the message and then select the trick - rather than having a routine or trick and tagging the gospel message on top.




Not always. Oz and Wilde had a great article on both approaches in one of the first FCM mags I received after becoming a member (then called the CHRISTIAN CONJURER here in the States). I have seen many effects that immediately remind me of a Biblical principle or lesson. I do not, however, simply "tag a Gospel message on top," as you say. It is integrated throughout the routine. But I do believe a central theme that ties the entire program together can strengthen the presentation.

I also agree with Sam. Bringing in a few "just for fun" routines makes it less preachy and retains the interest of believers and non-believers alike.
Steve Templeton
www.HimpactIllusion.com
Ed_Millis
View Profile
Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
1969 Posts

Profile of Ed_Millis
There are evangelists of all kinds reaching all kinds of people.
David Wilkerson reached the hardcore New York gangs.
I know a little old man who has reached black and hispanic druggies.
And those ex-druggies reached rich middle-class whites.
Rich white Americans reach other cultures.
And yes - there are magicians who suck whose message can touch others.
"Relevant" is not always needed, though it often does help.

That being said, when it comes down to a mixed crowd at an unknown event, those without Christ who are most usually there only for the personal gratification factor will only hang around as long as the show doesn't suck. Jesus did miracles and fed people with no recorded "altar call". We are enjoined to "do good to all men". I would presume this also means do a good show for all men.

I can not see where doing a good show means the performer is either putting himself above Jesus or not trusting God to do the work. I can see where someone who thinks they need a "hook" will slap some half-baked tricky stuff around a scripture and call it gospel magic. But if God can use Jonah's preaching, I can believe He's not too perfectionistic.

I think we are confusing sowing and the seed with the results. There are many different seeds, and many different methods of sowing. The results, though, depend totally on two items totally outside the control of the sower: the Holy Spirit and the condition of the heart. The Word of God is our seed, and it works!! This seed WILL do what it's intended to do - change lives - IF it's allowed to grow. As long as there's a sower spreading this Seed in whatever manner, the Spirit that empowers the Word will do a supernatural work.

*Super*natural is the key. Comparing Sam's and Gary's approaches to sowing the gospel through magic is like comparing the rough and gritty Peter to refined and educated Paul: bottom line - God used both where and how He willed.

God-speed to you both.
Ed

PS - I think Sam's experience and the wisdom learned there may be valuable. Then again, it may only have value if it fits your situation. If it doesn't fit you, the value is not diminished for Sam or any other magician it can help. If a field is bearing fruit, that farmer is doing _something_ right, whether or not it's what ~you~ would do.

My opinion, based on 35 years of serving God in various forms, including as a bad gospel magician.
Sam Sandler
View Profile
Inner circle
2254 Posts

Profile of Sam Sandler
Ed,

I learned musch from you tonight- one I did not know you were a believer that's Awesome. also I think you post is spot on and I will be the first to admit I am much better at talking and explianing then I am at putting my words to computer screen.
you had some very insightful thoughts

thanks

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Ed_Millis
View Profile
Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
1969 Posts

Profile of Ed_Millis
Quote:
What Sam "MUST" understand is assuming that everyone is a christian, and not assuming everyone is a magician seems to be a prime example of putting magic first.
.............
Bottom line, it was discouraging to see Sam use the word, "Must" so may times, and yet never say, "You MUST have an authentic relationship with God, the Father, and you MUST have a mature understanding of scriptures"


I'm not Sam, and I have only the words he posted to go by. But I would feel safe in assuming that he felt that if you were here on this forum discussing magic in a gospel presentation (especially a presentation done badly) that (a) you were an authentic Christian, (b) you have a decent understanding of the scriptures, and (c) your desire is to put God first ahead of your magic presentation. I don't believe he assumes much of anything about his audiences.

I also know that there is a difference between presenting the gospel to church kids and presenting it to the "unsaved masses". The spiritual appetites are different - what is accepted by one group can often be rejected by the other. And their undestanding is different - Bible stories and the applications thereof make more sense to church kids than to the unsaved.

There will also be a difference in the actual presentation depending on whether the audience member has paid decent money for a theater ticket, came to church and settled in their usual pew to watch a "magical sermon", or just came across this guy on the corner doing magic. If an unsaved person has paid money to a 'secular" theater to watch a magic and illusion show that also has a gospel presentation in it, they are there to be entertained by the magic. A Christian, on the other hand, may well be inclined to get more out of the gospel than the entertainment. Surely someone in a church will want more of the Bible than the magic. A random person on the street, though, may not stick around long enough to hear the message if the magic isn't strong enough.

I think all the above can be valid. Many discussion like this result in arguing over which side of a coin is better or more valid, when the fact is that if you don't have _both_ sides than you don't have a coin of full value. The problem with these kinds of discussions is that the general term "gospel magic presentation" conjures up (pardon the pun!) different images in each person's mind. One person may be an expert on *his* kind of "gospel magic presentation" and speak with full authority from that platform. But since his words do not at all fit with the the other person's image, that authority comes across as arrogant and wrong.

As for kids, again it's the receptivity of the heart to the truth. No, most kids haven't a clue what they mean at four and five and six when they repeat a prayer. And while an illustration may help flesh out and breathe life into a truth (which is why the pro[hets and Jesus used so many of them), if a child doesn't want Jesus when s/he gets older, there's no magic or sermon that will save them. But here you're getting into a diversion of teaching the truth in our churches and families (especially the families!), and I'm not sure that's totally germain to a discussion on "Bad Gospel Magic".

Personally, Gary, I think you have also come across as every bit "MUST" and "assume" as Sam. And I think there is great truth in your comments - but I also think your comments present only one side of the discussion. I think if we put Sam's comments and yours together in their proper perspectives, we can see the whole taking shape, and then it will be easier to decide what fits and what doesn't. (I also think that "together" is a very key word here; that there is more harm in two differing Christians warring over viewpoints than there is in a fallible man doing his fumbling best to present the gospel in whatever format he possibly can.)

Ed
MagicBus
View Profile
Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Michigan
2401 Posts

Profile of MagicBus
Last Wednesday night, I did a magic program for a Christmas Party of the local "camp" of The Gideons. They distribute Bibles in jails, schools, hotels, etc.. I am also a Gideon. Since I knew they were all going to be adult Christians there, I decided to do a program where about 90% of it was Gospel magic, and in fact, only my opener of "Nosey Volunteers" (originally out of England) was my only non-Gospel effect. I have had "Nosey Volunteers" for years and that trick faded into marketing oblivion even though it has always been one of my favorite effects. So I was kinda sad to see that Hocus-Pocus is now selling it again. Anyway, I cannot remember a time where my program was more positively received. Everyone was really into it and I got a ton of nice compliments afterwards. I stressed the importance of Bible reading and evangelism- so "What Color Is Your Bible?" worked nicely. So in that particular setting, I did not have to "earn" the right to talk about spiritual matters by first doing a lot of secular magic first. The older I get, the more I realize it is the patter, attitude, and positive interaction that mean the most for an audience. None of the tricks I did were knuckle busting or all that difficult really to figure out, but I had a number of mature adults tell me afterwards they were completely fooled as well as enjoying the presentation. Wow. Last Sunday I did a program at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission for adults (no children present)- did only Gospel magic completely there. No "secular" magic as well. Similar positive reaction there, including to the very simple Andre' Kole "Three Ball Illustration." So now if I know the audience is mostly made up of Christians- I will get right into the Gospel magic.
davidandstuff
View Profile
New user
Springfield, Mo
69 Posts

Profile of davidandstuff
In an episode of King of the Hill Bobby Hill does a magic show for his Sunday school group. The whole scene is awkward and everyone can tell that Bobby does not quit understand Jesus or His message. The scene ends with Bobby saying, "For my next trick Im going to need a volunteer and a large wooden cross..." That is what I think of when I think of poor gospel magic.

I would also say that when I was touring I struggled to find any real "Christian Trick" that was interesting enough to add into the fold of my show. I felt that many of these effects not only watered down a very important gospel message, which is a danger for any big event gospel presentation, and also made a perfectly good magic trick seem more cheesy and less interesting. Please don't hear me say that all Christian type tricks are cheesy and uninteresting, that is not what I believe. I do think that often times these "Christian tricks" tend to mainly just identify us as a Christian performer rather than actually communicate the gospel. All that being said, I am VERY open to seeing any Gospel trick so that I can broaden my understanding of them and see their variety and power in the appropriate setting. Of Course God can use these Gospel Tricks for his Kingdom, I just struggled to find a good one that worked with my act, so I often set aside a speaking opportunity that was separate from the show but flowed from it.

I have often gotten asked if I have any "Christian Tricks" to which I would reply, "Well, maybe... but I am still trying to convert most of them..." Smile
EVENTUCATOR
View Profile
New user
31 Posts

Profile of EVENTUCATOR
Hi, I have been embarrased more than once by balloons.
I do the 'Jonah' story with 260 balloon. (Ralph Dewey) The story goes along well, building up interest etc. then BANG!
You have to quickly make another balloon and "recap" the story up to the point of the BANG.
Similar problem when doing needle thru balloon story...
Balloons can be VERY unpredictable. Best to use them as fresh as possible.
MagicBus
View Profile
Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Michigan
2401 Posts

Profile of MagicBus
Line overheard at the 2012 FCM convention: "Is this seat saved?" "No, but it's under conviction."
Paul Budd
View Profile
Veteran user
It's a shame he's only made
311 Posts

Profile of Paul Budd
Y'know, I was going to start an actual thread on this, but thought I'd just toss it in here:

I'm a member of my local IBM Ring, and often, we're invited to attend the local FCM group. I went a few months back, and saw a gentleman perform there (a member of both clubs) named George Garrett; George performs as "Rich the Clown". Most, but not all, of George's business involved gospel effects. They were presented with tact, taste and conveyed an overall sense of forethought and consideration. I've been a LOUD critic of gospel magic for many years.
I often, say that Jeff Goldblum's character in "Jurrasic Park" put it well. While talking to the man (Dr. John Hammond)who'd figured out how to "make" dinosaurs, he said to him, "You were so busy trying to find out if you COULD, you didn't stop and ask yourself if you SHOULD." That is what I want to say to most gospel magicians. Just because you CAN figure out how to squeeze a fragment of a gospel theme into a Lota Bowl effect, that doesn't mean you automatically should. Give it some thought, sleep on it, ask others their opinions of it etc. etc. etc.
George trancended all this. He was just good. Not once was I bored. Not once did he get carried away assigning color-based themes to everything (e.g. "The red silk represents the blood of Christ" blah-blah-diggedy-blah). Not once did I have to stretch to "get" the idea being conveyed. Not once did I shift in my seat or think, "I'm so embarassed for this guy." It was all clear and it all made sense. The message was always clear, but never brazen. It was poignant but nice. I wanted to listen and watch, and came away with a much higher opinion of an art form I'd thought rather lowly about for a long, long time.
Gospel magic can be good. It takes patience and the ability to apply proper self-criticism to realize that end.
His face isn't really this long in-person!
___________________________________________
Once Upon A Magician blog
Sam Sandler
View Profile
Inner circle
2254 Posts

Profile of Sam Sandler
I know I am resurecting an old thread but I felt compelled to comment when I stumbled upon this thread and read it thru.

you know the one mistake I made in my comments was to clarify performing for "church" or performing for "unsaved"

now if you are performing for a church event then I would indeed understand the need to have more "Gospel" or christian routines in the show.
however I personally would still have some if not more just plain old fun stuff.
i have learned over the years to just love my audience and share my love share my Joy of entertaining them. the Joy god put in my heart and the talent he gave me to share this joy.

and

when performing for an audience that is mixed with many unsaved I find it even more important to have some solid magic, illusions, and or comedy thorough out the show. this way when its time to share a personal testimony yes they will be more receptive.

Jesus tells us to do all that we do with excellence. we should strive to put on an excellent show and as we entertain them as we begin to relate to them as we open up to them and let them get to know us just a little bit our words of Gods awesome love and forgiveness and eternal life will be much more receptive.

i have seen many gospel magic shows and the ones that stand out are Toby travis and Andre Kole they both follow this model of entertain and relate to the audience and then share the gospel.

now that does not mean it is the only way and that they are right and you are wrong. it just means they have found what works for them.
just as I have found what works for me.

but over all I do fully believe in earning that right to be heard. allowing the audience (Christians or unsaved) to get to know you a little bit before you get personal with them I believe will have much more impact on their opening their hearts, mind and souls to you.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
themagiciansapprentice
View Profile
Inner circle
Essex, UK
1227 Posts

Profile of themagiciansapprentice
Duane Laflin puts it like this ... if the audience like you they listen

once they like you, deliver a message in a fun way so they keep liking you

many of us give one BIG MESSAGE after several fun magic routines - if we're having fun, that rubs off on to the audience - they are enjoying the show, marvelling at the skills. some are trying to work out the methods, some are on stage with us, all are clapping/laughing

my shows now tend to 75% magic routines / 25% solid Gospel content whether in the UK or USA
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Summer and Autumn 2013.
coreyw
View Profile
New user
Missouri
4 Posts

Profile of coreyw
I'm new to the forum here, but I've been involved in magic since I was a little kid, and been an ordained minister for about 10 years.

The one thing I can tell you is that, whether it is a sermon from the pulpit, a presentation to youth, or what have you, and whether it involves illusion or not, the gospel part of the presentation has to be simple and straightforward. The message of Christ's work on the cross is really a simple one. I agree that having all of the colors that represent different things, such as with different colored silks or spots on a ball, can actually get pretty confusing for the lost members of the audience in the end. They forget what color was what, etc.

Make the trick as complicated as you like, but make (keep) the gospel message simple. Maybe cut and restore rope, showing that God can fix what we can't, etc. That's my two cents anyway.
Amazing Binky
View Profile
Regular user
Lancaster,OH
189 Posts

Profile of Amazing Binky
I saw a big name Christian magician perform after much hype of the show and it was announced that there was to be no photos taken or videos during the show. The guy came out onstage as an opening act doing a classic routine of a trick any kid who had a magic set would know how it is done (available at dollar tree), and someone took a flash picture. He stopped mid-preformance and chewed out the audience and the person taking the picture. Yes, the audience was told no pictures and yes, the person disobeyed. But after the humiliating scolding I could have cared less what the guy had to say. There are better ways to handle this situation. (like have an usher play the bad guy). If your show is soooo precious then the audience should be frisked upon entry for any recording devices.
The saying, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" comes to mind.
wwhokie1
View Profile
Veteran user
303 Posts

Profile of wwhokie1
Camps and organizations that teach teenagers a magic trick to use as a means of presenting the gospel often teach bad gospel magic. For example: I know a teenager who was taught a gospel presentation using the Professors Nightmare. He was taught horrible handling, he held the ropes in his hand, back of his hand toward the audience and fumbled around making the move, clearly manipulating the ropes behind his hand. This is how he was shown, from someone who was not a magician, who had been shown from who knows who else. The problem is that nonmagicians are often buying and teaching gospel magic as an optional evangelistic tool and think all they need is a trick. It is not even a hobby for these people and as a result they put no effort into properly learning how to perform, yet they are teaching others. As a result they teach very poor magic skills.

The kid I saw was performing the Professors Nightmare at a talent show for a multi-church retreat I attended. I had already met the kid so afterward I spoke with him, told him I did magic and also performed his rope trick. I told him that I performed it a little different and asked if he would like to see. He was eager, so I borrowed his ropes and started, when I placed the ropes in my hand I paused as he waited for me to do the move, instead I finished the routine. He was floored because I didn't do the move. He was dying to know what I had done. I worked with him for a while showing him how to do it properly. He was an enthusiastic student.
frankie5aces
View Profile
New user
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
43 Posts

Profile of frankie5aces
I would say tha bad gospel magic is done where the magician's ego is the focus and not the gospel message. Storytelling should be the destination of the show with magic as the vehicle, not so much the magician.
Danny Kazam
View Profile
Inner circle
1172 Posts

Profile of Danny Kazam
Bad gospel magic is when you turn water to wine and not have a good grip on the meaning and teaching of it.
Or, when professor's nightmare is performed claiming there are small sins, medium sins, and big sins.

Bad gospel magic is when the performer is still a babe in the Lord, or has not aquired the knowledge and wisdom to correctly represent the teachings in the Bible.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Examples of Really Bad Gospel Magic?? (2 Likes)
  Next Topic >>>
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001- 2014 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.317604 seconds, requiring 70 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

[1] [0] [4] [8] [2] [1] [2] [6] [1] [7]