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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Examples of Really Bad Gospel Magic?? (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Russo
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Good Gospel Magic is even better with a PERSONAL WITNESS -- something that you did or was done to you - along with the illustrating Effect and Bible Verses. Ralph
Sam Sandler
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Glad to see the last 3 post all agree with my first post at the beginning of this thread.

don't take that the wrong way not tooting my horn. just happy to hear er um read that others understand what I was saying. albeit I did like how it was put with the good and bad gospel and magic analogies.

i just want every one to strive to present the best presentation of magic with a message to the best of their abilities.

we have a lost and dying world out there that is desperately searching for the truth. for Joy. for happiness, for love, for freedom but will never find it unless they commit themselves to the Lord. we as followers of Messiah Jesus and entertainers have an awesome opportunity to Unleash that TRUTH.


praying for you all.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Russo
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Speaking about Entertainers -- I wonder how many Pastors that have Entertainment industry (music-TV-Movies-etc) in their congreation- and MOST Subjects are IMORAL SUBJECTS that they work in/on/with- are approched by their Pastor - or is the Tith$$$$$$$$$$more important than the Souls they influence and the Entertainers Soul/.. (we/I'm in the Entertainment Field - but try to keep the LORD in what I /we do!) If you put wiskey in front of a drunkerd - drugs in front of a drugie - SEX /Violance in front of a WEAK person -continually -as in TV-Movies-Music- etc - Whats Happens???? (just the thoughts of a 77 year old nut) Ralph
Crownhart
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I saw a very good magician doing good magic and then like a light switch he started preaching. First a magician then a preacher the audience went to see a magic show and halfway through the person changed completely. I feel it should be interwoven inside and out and advertised as Gospel Magic otherwise you have a lot of unhappy people. I saw a lot of people put off by preaching when they went to a magic show. Probably a hard thing to juggle. I like the comment 25% Gospel magic and 75% regular magic.

That brings me to another problem I am having. If you lead people to Christ with entertaining don't you have to keep them entertained? If you lead the with The Word all you need is The Word.
SinCIRCUSly,

Michael C. Crownhart
katyannmarie
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I've tried to leave this thread alone because the premises stated are so silly it seemed not worthy of being dignified with a response.
Other than in the FCM forum, I've never heard of the concept of "earning the right to be heard." The only way to earn the right to be heard is to have something worth listening to. For all the Bible talk that gets tossed around, one who has actually read the Bible wonders if any of you ever read it, and if you do, whether you take it to heart. Can you name any speaker in the Bible who ever thought about earning the right to be heard? John the Baptist wouldn't even dress or eat to impress anyone, but he was successful. Ever hear of Jesus? He never did anything to impress anyone with his abilities. Your man Paul went so far as to say all his own abilities and natural born perks were dung. Somehow, he was still effective in doing what he did.
Even if you look at recent Christian evangelists, none of them tried to impress a crowd with their skills or personalities. D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday were both atrocious speakers, but they were both highly effective. Billy Graham was no great orator, but he didn't try to be. Highly successful. He just believed what he had to say was worth saying, and he said it very simply.
Outside of the religious world, George Washington Carver, who also happened to be Christian, was a sought-after speaker. One of the Ivy League colleges asked him to speak, but sent him a fancy suit for him to wear while speaking. He told them if people were coming to see the suit, he'd send the suit for them to see. If they wanted to hear what he had to say, he'd come as he was. He spoke in his own clothes to a standing room only crowd.
If you think Jesus is "all that," why would you spend 75% of the time on how impressive you are and only 25% of the time on how impressive he is? That sends a message, alright, but probably not the one you intended, i.e. "Jesus is a decent afterthought, after you get a load of me."
As far as your concern about offending someone with your God talk, so what if they are offended? If you billed it as a religious show, and they came to see it, they subjected themselves to it. No one held a gun to their head to get them there and no one forces them to stay. Maybe the "God's honest truth" is that in reality, you'd rather be admired than truthful. Maybe you really don't believe the God stuff is really true, when it comes down to it. Jesus said, and it's one of the things I admire about him, that everyone who really hears his message will be offended by it, because by it's nature, what he had to say offends human sensibilities. Who are you more afraid of offending, anyway? Don't you think it's offensive to your God to give him lower billing than yourself? I'm not even a believer in Christianity, and I found it offensive that in your shows, you treat the Bible as "for entertainment purposes only."
Sam Sandler
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Katyannmarie-- well that was quite the post and you have missed the point completely.

no one is putting magic or themselves ahead of god.

when I say earning the right to be heard I am referring to establishing myself as a knowledgeable person both in my art (magic) as well as the ministry God has entrusted me with.

as an evangelist I speak in churches both thru my show and sunday morning preaching.
never do I put my show or my self above God or dream of doing so.

as performers we must have a professional show. we need to establish we are Competent in our profession. by doing this when we then move into part of the show where we share the gospel or testimony people will be more open to what we share.

and we are not secretly suddenly sharing the gospel with others approval or knowledge. Our shows are booked with every one knowing that the performer will be sharing his testimony or sharing insights to the spiritual aspects of our lives. there is no Deceiving anyone,

Dl Moody was not a magician nor is Billy Graham so your comparing apples and oranges there.

but I hope you understand we don't go into our shows with the attitude of "look at me" or at least we shouldnt be doing that. we go there to share the Joy we have performing and making people laugh and then sharing why we have this Joy and how others can have it too.

sam
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wwhokie1
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Even if you look at recent Christian evangelists, none of them tried to impress a crowd with their skills or personalities. D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday were both atrocious speakers, but they were both highly effective. Billy Graham was no great orator, but he didn't try to be. Highly successful. He just believed what he had to say was worth saying, and he said it very simply. -Katyannmarie

I would agree impressing a crowd with your skills or personalities is not what God calls people to do. But we must distinguish between trying to impress people with "me" and trying to get people to "listen to" and "understand" the message. It is the responsibility of the speaker to do the best job they can possibly do to organize, prepare, plan, practice and present the message in a way that people will listen and understand. A pastor friend once commented to me about the tragedy of a speaker taking the Bible and making it boring. That was after we listened to someone do that very thing for several hours throughout a weekend retreat. Yes, you do not want to overshadow the message, but a valuable message deserves the best effort at delivering. "Earning the right to be heard" is not about "look at me", its about convincing an audience that I have something valuable to say and I can present it in a way that will respect your time, not boring you or making a valuable message seem irrelevant. The speaker can get in the way of the message by pointing everyone to himself, but he or she can also get in the way of the message by making people not want to hear it. I don't give my attention to boring people or poorly prepared people. Treat the message with the respect it deserves and do the best you can to present it in the best possible way. Anything less is disrespectful to the message. Can the message overcome a poor presentation? Yes. But that is no excuse. Billy Graham was always concerned with presenting the message in the best possible way and with developing his oratory skills. He never considered those things to be unimportant. Though he never considered that it was his skills that made the message valuable. In fact, I think he was a very skilled speaker, and that did not just happen, it took effort and hard work. But that effort and skill was never what he pointed people to.
drumorgan
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This is a great thread. I would tend to agree with katyannmarie and add that the gospel is offensive. We shouldn't add to the offense, but there is nothing we can add to it to make it more palatable without watering it down. The gospel, not the magician, is the power of salvation. And, while a "personal testimony" is nice, it is NOT the gospel, nor is it evangelism. Making friends with people, and "earning the right to be heard" is NOT the gospel, and it is not evangelism. I saw a magician (very nice guy, don't want to knock him) perform at a church recently and while his show was awesome (very skilled in magic AND entertainment) and full of "positive" messages, it was not evangelism.

Many years ago I heard a message from Ray Comfort (who is now a good friend of mine) that turned my idea of evangelism upside down. http://www.hellsbestkeptsecret.com is definitely worth a listen.

Now, this brings the next question. Does every single performance NEED to be evangelism? Does it need a clear proclamation of the Gospel? I'll leave that up to you to decide. But, I think we should be clear at the outset what evangelism is and find a way to work the Biblical gospel into our presentation.
drumorgan
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And, to agree with wwhokie1, we should take pride in ALL we do, working as if working for the Lord. OF COURSE we should be well dressed, polite, be well rehearsed and spot on with our performance. Treat our performance and our audience with the respect they deserve. Like I said, we shouldn't do anything to ADD to the offense of the gospel.
Sam Sandler
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Drunorgan - not sure I understand your comments
you say the gospel is offensive! how!? why?!

as a full time evangelist I speak in churches all over the country. this is what god called me to do and for the past 18 years I have done this.

sharing my testimony is EXACTLY what we need as Gospel. it is the gospel! it is living proof that God's word is real. sharing my story lets me connect with the audience and then share the scriptures that reinforce what I have learned thru the brokenness God has allowed me to go thru.

now some shows are purely secular such as my school assembly I just did a few hours ago. I have a positive motivational show teaching how and why we should not give up and work hard./

i have another show that is similar but I share my testimony and what God has done in my life and how by having that deep intimate relationship with God - He has brought me thru many dark days. thru this show and my testimony people are both entertained but also enlightened. my hope with this show is that I have inspired them to draw closer to God thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit

my other show is a full gospel presentation towards the end of the show. again a mix of magic and testimony with a clear gospel presentation.

how ever in all these shows I must earn the right to be heard or prepare the audience to listen to me.
this is done thru presenting a professional show. magic, comedy, grand illusions, and more lets me love my audience and have a fun time. then when its time for me to share from my heart about the brokenness I have and still experience the audience is more apt to listen.

again the key is to make sure you are putting god first in your life thus it will be seen with in your show.

polished professional show = an audience much more willing to listen.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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drumorgan
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Sam, that is why I shared the link above. It clarifies with the Bible just exactly what the gospel is. If your message is simply "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" that is not offensive. That is because it is not the gospel. The Bible talks about the cross being folly to those who are perishing. Basically, God is holy, perfect, just. And you, are a sinner, under the wrath of God, destined for hell because of your transgression of His Law. That is pretty offensive. But, it is the truth. Only when a person is broken by the realization of their sin in the light of God's holiness, are they ready for the healing salve of the gospel of His grace and mercy. Until then, it is foolishness. God has to break the stony heart before He replaces it with a heart of flesh.

There is a reason that everybody loves men like Joel Osteen, especially atheists. It is because he just tickles their ears with how great they are. They killed Jesus (and most of the disciples) for their gospel message. We should expect no less.
drumorgan
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I am not trying to judge. I am working this out for myself. But, as a street evangelist AND a magician. I feel it is tricky to combine the two completely. I feel that at some level, they are two different things. And, I am here to learn from others some ideas for bringing them closer together. I do realize that you should know your audience, and venue. I wouldn't go into a corporate event smashing people over the head with the Law, driving them out like Jesus clearing the Temple. But, I wouldn't call what I do a gospel presentation without using the Law as the Bible instructs... to drive men to the foot of the cross.

If it is a paid event, I would focus on the magic. If it at a church, I would feel more leeway to really focus on the gospel. And, thinking about it, adding magic to street evangelism, the idea would be to draw the crowd with the magic and THEN, pull out the big guns and proclaim the full gospel to all who had ears to listen.
MagicBus
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The context of a program is very important.

Most of the shows I do nowadays pretty much everyone in the audience already knows me- because I have been working in that same Sunday School program for years- or have worked in the VBS or Mega Sports Camp all week as a teacher or whatever- or have been called back to the same location for the umpteenth time, etc.. This takes most of the pressure off of me, the audience pretty much knows who I am, and I more often than not rely on magic stuff I have done for years so I don't screw the mechanics of it up. Rarely do I do a program now where a trick "didn't work". I am like a goofy uncle with something of interest to talk about, it is a fun time.

When it comes to doing a Gospel magic program for a large group of folks who have never seen you before- YOU MUST BE GOOD. Well practiced, using a good carefully thought out script, and knowing exactly what and why you are doing it. Pretty much every minute planned out in the smallest detail. Nothing to chance. I do not count myself in that elite group.

When I am performing in that type of new audience setting- I am almost always with someone else or cast of folks also performing who much better than myself- such as with MagicBob and SuZie. They are GOOD all the time. When I worked for the late John de Vries, his shows were super heavy on Gospel content and the retelling of exact Bible stories using props, yet he too had pretty much had every word completely memorized. John's shows were often more like listening to a preacher who used a lot of illustrations.

The point being, John de Vries took the time to have every routine completely worked out before ever using it, and often used items custom crafted for him alone.

Others GOOD all the time obviously are Barry Mitchell, Duane Laflin, Andre' Kole, Brad Brown and other FCMers who work on their craft seriously. It's hard work, not just promoting oneself without the talent to back it up.

If a performer is holding themselves out as a professional Gospel magician (not just a hobbyist like myself) for hiring out to just about any type of brand new audience, the performers MUST take the responsibility of knowing what they are doing out there. All of us have seen where that is not the case. I cringe when I see a performer's slick glossy promotional flyers, or custom fan T-Shirts even, but when watching the actual show it is clear nothing was planned out very well and the dialogue (including some sort of Gospel application thrown in at the end) is an unimaginative sounding mess.

It's like playing the piano- my church may accept my playing as I am and they will pretty much enjoy whatever tune I put out there. But I would not think in a heartbeat to hold myself out as a concert pianist for a group of strangers in another church- I am just not that good, period.

There is a place for both types of piano players or Gospel magicians- but it not good when basically an inexperienced hobbyist or partial pro "goes for it" and embarrasses all Gospel magicians everywhere by doing a cringe worthy program in front of an audience (perhaps even completely geared for the wrong age group) without really knowing how bad they look or come across for that particular group.

Just one last thing- my wife and I are in a huge outdoor Living Nativity each December, this year we had about 3,500 attend. My wife and my acting part as "The Innkeepers" is about three minutes long. THREE MINUTES. Yet we were completely costumed out for it, in front of our specially built Inn, and doing a professional scripted "routine" we practiced dozens of times times before doing it live, let alone the other times first performed in our group practice in front of the drama director and other actors. We then ended up doing our little Innkeeper skit live this year more than 90 times. We knew every line of course, but also knew every step or nuance of even where our arms were, what we were looking at, and every word inflection. That is the closest I have become to being a PROFESSIONAL, and it really felt good to do it right.

We as Gospel magicians, especially if holding oneself out to be a professional available to new audiences in a variety of settings, need to take our craft seriously and practice it as much as if we were the lead actor in a local community play. Do we do that? Let's hope so.
Sam Sandler
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Well said Magicbus

Drumorgan- my job is to offend as many people as I can! whether I am preaching Sunday morning or on the streets of NY or on stage for an audience that is a majority of unsaved people.
The Gospel is real and I don't have time to share cotton candy gospel-- I leave that to the likes of Joel Osteen.

my point is this- while some might find the gospel offensive - bummer we are called to make disciples we are called to unleash the truth of Gods love with every one.

there is a lost a dying world out there desperately searching for Joy, for love, for happiness, for SALVATION.

so sharing my testimony prior to sharing the Gospel (although I believe our testimony is part of the Gospel) people can relate to the things you have gone thru and it will get them thinking about their own lives.
we must also be aware WE don't SAVE ANYONE only God does that. we are called to share out testimony and share the gospel and plant that seed.
then let the Holy Spirit take over.

and all this goes back to what I said in my very first post "earning the right to be heard" with a polished professional well scripted show the audience will be more apt to listen to you when you share the Gospel. this is fact this is true.

this is why Andre Kole and toby travis and my self as well as others perform the majority of the show before sharing the gospel. we are establishing we have value and that we have knowledge of what we are doing.

put on the full armor and don't look back get out there and Unleash the Truth of Gods Love!

one thing I would also like to share-- I have been out for street witnessing many times and have been yelled at, spit at, threatened but that to me just means I am doing it right! there is power Just in His name - Jesus. I am not ashamed of the Gospel.

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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drumorgan
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Sam, Amen. I wasn't saying the gospel was offensive so we could avoid it. I was saying it so we could embrace it. It is not US that saves, but HIM. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

And, we should work on our craft as if working for the Lord. We don't need to add to the offense by performing bad magic. Smile
Sam Sandler
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Right I was not disagreeing with you. your recent posts cleared up the issue I had with your first post.

thanks

on a side note I am a Messianic Jewish Believer. I have worked with Jews for Jesus several times both at their events as well as street witnessing.

this has been a pretty good thread so far.
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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drumorgan
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For me, too. Great to meet you. I spent a lot of time with Ray Comfort and the folks at Living Waters preaching in the streets and teaching others to do so. If you want a good way to get over your nerves about public speaking, try speaking about Jesus in public. If you can do that, then performing magic is easy compared to that. Smile
MagicBus
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Wow, I am a huge fan of Ray Comfort, have taught his evangelism course "The Way of the Master" three times at my home church. Ray loves magic, uses D'Lites to attract crowds in the evening and publishes tracts that sometimes have simple optical illusions or magic principles on them. I think I remember seeing on youtube? the late Dean Dill doing his fabulous coins across routine for Ray and Kirk Cameron.
GlenD
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Also it is not our job to convict people of their sin. In the right environment and at the right time when one is in a place where they may be ready to "hear" and be honest within themselves they are well aware of the sinful things in their own lives. I feel that when a testimony is shared or a personal account of how one came to the Lord and w hat He has done for them, then that is an opportunity where recognition of one's own issues can be acknowledged and after this testimonial then a clear account of Gods salvation answer to our own disconnect with Him can be heard and received (if their eyes, ears and hearts are open). Everything leads up to this moment of opportunity and God is marvelously able to use our feeble attempts regardless of how polished or raw they may be, if it is with love and sincerity then God can use it/us all for His glory.

Btw, someone previously mentioned that Jesus never did anything to impress anyone... I thought He did plenty! But it wasn't for the purposes of impressing others, it was always out of compassion and to exhibit the truth of who He was and is!

Glen
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
drumorgan
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I would tend to agree that if we are hired to do a family-friendly magic show, our job would not be to "convict people of their sin", but if our goal is to present the gospel, that actually is the first part of it. People don't care anything about the "good news" without first understanding the bad news. I am still working out how to meld these two together, as you don't get called back to too many paid gigs if you break out the Law and show people their destination is hell unless they repent and trust Christ. Smile

Again, listening to http://www.hellsbestkeptsecret.com really helped put this in a clearer light for me. We are told so many times that sharing the gospel is the same as sharing our testimony/story and if we look at it Biblically, they are two very different things.
Danny Kazam
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Excellent posts katyannmarie and drumorgan.
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.
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For teachers from Paul

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

May the Holy Spirit continue to open the mysteries in scripture
In my years I have barely scratched the surface and look forward to truths revealed and to be lived and shared.

May the see Him and not my humor, stories , puppets and or other type Gospel Demonstrations.
One comment came after a nonGospel program

The birthday child's grandfather and I were chatting
He put his hand on my shoulder and said
"Thank you for your ministry"
The following minutes were the first time that afternoon The Lord or His words were specifically mentioned.


Love and prayers
Shalom.
Brother Harris aka Zvi Arey
Still too old to know it all
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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katyannmarie
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Sam Sandler: It was you who said you spent 75% of your time earning the right to be heard and 25% of your time on the "gospel." I submit that if you know the gospel and live the gospel, you don't have to try to come across as knowing anything else to be heard. People might still disagree with you, but they will never miss what you are presenting. It's not a difficult message to begin with. D.L. Moody obviously spent no time polishing his speaking abilities to be "heard" or come off as knowledgeable on his topic. I didn't miss your point at all. I pointed out the fallacy of the idea that you have to prove your own skills to be heard. That's not a suggestion to be sloppy, but a suggestion to not be concerned about your image.
To put it bluntly, how much time do any of you spend coming up with and polishing a trick and how much time do you spend studying the Bible so you know what your life is required to look like, and matching your life to that ideal? Your life speaks more loudly than your words. That's why Moody, Sunday, and Graham were effective.
To those who say I'm comparing apples to oranges, I've compared evangelists to evangelists. They measured success with changed lives (their own and their listeners) and the only success I've seen discussed here is number of callbacks and popularity (they liked my show.)
Having read their autobiographies and biographies written about them, the one thing that stands out to me was when they noticed a shortcoming or mistake in their ministries, they acknowledged it, apologized to those they hurt, even by a simple lack of awareness, and changed the wrongdoing which in religious terms is called repentance. That is something the FCM doesn't do, which doesn't make the magic or trick bad, but is what makes for losing credibility both on and off stage. To me, that's where gospel magic has gone bad, more so than a flubbed or contrived trick.
I don't say that to be hurtful, but while it may hurt your feelings now, there is still time to right the wrongs. And if you really do believe you have to I've an honest account to God, wouldn't it make more sense to take care of it now than to be ashamed then?
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