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Dan Watkins
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"Preach the gospel at all times. If neccessary, use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

This quote reminds me much of what is being talked about here.

Plainly speaking, your Christian Witness is the evidence of what God has done in your life. Dead to your old self, Alive in Christ. The fact that this has happened to you, and that you are a new creature in Christ, this should be evident to people even without words spoken.

How? By your joy, your peace, your love, it should be apparent that you have something much of the world does not. This is your witness without words.

80% of effective communication is listening, 20% talking. I also agree that when dealing one on one with someone, that establishing a relationship, listening to others, and allowing them to recognize Christ in your life opens the door much more than force feeding philosophy.

When they want to know what it is you have, that is when the door is wide open, and they are most ready to hear it.

Dan
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johncrosby
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Yak,

I did not mean that in a bad way, but people who are not expecting to hear the Good News about Jesus feel when you do discuss this with them that you are Dropping a Bomb. I feel it is just explaining what I have learned by studying my Bible and consulting with my pastors.
Burt Yaroch
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Let me try to clarify my position for you John by dissecting your reply as I feel you may have missed my point altogether. Smile

"...people who are not expecting..."

People who are not expecting to hear about God are most likely not ready to open their hearts to Him (granted there may be exceptions but only God will know this). When they are ready they are not only expecting this miraculous change but they are often seeking it. It is then that God may call upon you to witness. Notice I say "may". You might not be the person God wishes to witness to this individual. He may never call on you. If that fact is stinging, and it sometimes is, that sting is pride. But such is a life of servitude. It isn't about us.

"(people) feel that you are dropping a bomb."

I think we are in agreement as to what this terminology means. If you are proposing that the Bible or your pastors are granting you the authority to have at another mans salvation with this "from the hip" manner of witnessing, I would HIGHLY recommend to you, sir, that you seek your counsel elsewhere. I say that with the utmost sense of urgency and with love in my heart.
Yakworld.
Scott F. Guinn
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I feel we need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who convicts men of their need for Jesus, and it is God, not us, who saves them. As the Apostle Paul said, some sow, some water, and some reap. We don't get to decide which task is ours. We are to be
"always ready with an answer, in season and out of season," but that implies that there has been a QUESTION.

I think Dan has it right. We should live our lives as such that people can see that we are different and have a love, joy and peace that they do not have, and that they will desire to have. But by attempting to force feed the Gospel to people, I fear we do more harm than good. "Let your light so shine before men" is our task, not "Let your mouth so run" before them. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, but I also try to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit as to when the opportune moments are to share it. If he hasn't opened the door, then I am operating under my own strength, and "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it!"

This is my understanding of how we are to witness. I'm not saying that "There is only one God and Scott is His prophet." I'm just saying that this is the way I see it. You may see it differently. We are each responsible for following God's will as He has revealed it to us. Just make sure that it is HIS will and not yours that guides you!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Dan Watkins
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Nicely said Scott
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johncrosby
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Yak,

I absolutely agree with you and appreciate your concerns. I in no way would ever try to use magic as a way to wtiness to anybody who does not already know that I am doing it to witness. I feel you have to be up front to people. If they are ready to listen then you will make a difference to them. If they are not, they should know up front that you are doing this as a tool for your witness.

That is why I stated I for one would wear something like a button that shows I am a Christian even though I feel that the way you act and handle yourself and your speach should be a witness to who you are, people who are not wanting to hear what you have to say can see up front that you are going to be speaking about Jesus and what he has done for you and what he can do for others.

I never want to turn anybody off by giving them the idea that I am sneaking up on them. Jesus is real and that is what everybody should be able to see in me or whomever is doing the witnessing.

Since I see that you are the user who started this conversation from the beginning, I am glad you started it as it has helped to open my heart to being more open to what I will be doing. Again, I appreciate your dialogue and your care and concern for me as well as others. Keep up the awsome attitude and maybe in the near future we will meet in person.

John
GlenD
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Here's a new, yet unplanned approach...
Actually just a story I want to share, will try and keep it short...

Last night (Tuesday eve) I was confronted by a would be robber as I was leaning into my car searching for my calculator, I had left in there. It was around 9:45 pm or so. I hear a voice behind me, turn around and here is this guy holding a fairly large knife up to me and asking for my money.

I immediately realized this was the guy who one of our neighbors said had robbed him just Sunday evening, about the same time. I handed over the two bucks I had on me and he started shaking his head, repeating "no, no, no, no".

This got me real scared, so I searched and came out with another wadded up buck (was almost comical). I then searched through my wallet, showing him how empty it was, he took it, looked through and gave it back to me, then asked for my watch. I offered to give him my nice HP calculator that I was searching for, then he started feeling the items in my shirt pocket.

I explained that it was just a pen and some magic items and that I am an amateur magician (I had a Pocket charger with pen in there and a packet of card tricks).

Anyways right after that, he looked at me, held out his hand and told me to take my stuff back and that he wouldn't bother me anymore and to take care (chalk one up to the power of magic??? nah, I know God ensured my safety last night).

I carefully took back my 2 bucks and my cheap watch as he walked away. I couldn't help thinking and wondering why he was doing this (he didn't look over 22 yrs old, just a kid). I know I grew up without a dad and could have ended up much worse than I am.

I decided to say something to him, I did a "pssst" and walked back up to him. All that came out was "would you mind if I prayed for you"? He said he didn't believe in that stuff and I said that's fine, I don't mean right here, right now to put you on the spot or anything but later I would like to. I asked him for his name, his first name even if just a fake. He told me Rick.

Anyways, I don't know what kind of witness this was but I did pray for him last night and will continue to do so, I was wondering if he has anyone in the world praying for him...

Thanks for the time

GlenD
"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!)
BroDavid
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For 46 years, in much of that time, I was an active Antagonist (Not agnostic, nor atheisic, but simply an active antagonist who took my shots, showed my intellectual acuity, and beat up the weak little
"Christians".)

I couldn't see how right-thinking people of self-sustained stength and wisdom could buy that "Christian Line." In short, I didn't need a God. I was good enough to be my own God. But even so, I kept wondering "Is this all there is?" I had power that many people only dream about. Money flowed from my every activity. (I will be pleased to share my complete story, including my experience with Bill Gate of Microsoft, Vince Lombardi of Green Bay packers/Washington Redskins, and Red Auerbach of Boston Celtics via PM or private email, as this isn't the place..) but that is all for another time.

I will come to the point now. About 10+ years ago, I reached a situation that I could not get out of by myself. Someone extended a kindness and spoke to me in a matter of interest to me, and I heard a word that finally answered my question; "is this all there is?" No, not if you are willing to surrender to find freedom, to die in order to live, to give so that you can get....

And so I know that when someone got my attention, and I was ready, I heard what I needed to hear.

And that is how it works with evangelism of all kinds, with magic, with friendship, etc. When the soil has been prepared, the seed will grow. Our Job isn't all that hard. It is just to plant, and if we are planting in prepared soil, it will grow. If we are not, it will not grow. But whether it grows or not, is not our responsibilty. That is up to God.

I could go on (and you KNOW that I really could...) but this is a Magic Site, and this is a Magic Forum, and it seems right that we take this thread back to talking about magic.

But thanks for your comments! You gave me a good chance to remember how I used to be. And to be even more thankful for where I am today. And for where I will be eternally.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
GlenD
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I really enjoyed reading the views and posts on this thread. My reasons for sharing my recent experience was 2 fold, I guess. One, for therapy Smile ...was having a hard time concentrating at work the next day. And the other, as a little testimony.
It is my feeling that our motives really need to be under constant scrutiny in order to be effective yet remain humble.

God bless,

GlenD
"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!)
Andrew
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Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, opinions and experiences! I really appreciate this forum.

I have discovered that the very fact that I follow Christ and do not practice the way of this world is an offense to some non-believers.

In most cases, when I perform routines that contain Biblical lessons, they are for Church groups and those in attendance expect it. However, the very nature of my performance in secular venues is an indication of my Christian personality. In fact, that is the reason I market my performance as "Family Magic". So many in this business resort to off-color humor or even profanity and consider this "entertainment".

My 'witness' is a natural (or should I say
'supernatural') result of the work going on inside of me by the Holy Spirit. This fact is unpleasent to many in the world and therefore, without uttering a word, we can be a 'turn-off'. I say all this to make this point; I believe that though it is difficult not to be an offense, our humility and obedience to Christ is our most perfect witness.

Thanks again!
Andrew
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Dolini
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Scott and Dan,
I particularly enjoyed your comments. Also if we address these concerns are we not doing what is right. Some times we do wrong when we think we are doing right. If we pray for guidance and "do not cast our pearls before swine." We will most likely head in the right direction.
Check out my "Sample Gospel Routine" I wrote under the heading Sample Gospel Routine.

Dolini Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
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sdgiu
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Wow, there have been some great points brought up on the pro's and cons of using magic as a tool to witness, I kinda got lost as to which, I was there for a while, guess I am still not sure. But back to part of the original question.

What I think you are looking for is a way to open the door or spark interest in someone, to see if they are interested in talking about God.

In which case you will then talk to them. That is what you were talking about right?
I know there are many good conversation starters, I am working on getting one into production that is pretty good. When I get it
going, I'll send you a copy.

Maybe someone else has one that is already usable that they can recommend.
Steve
zzz
John Long
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I realize that this is an old thread, and I want to read more carefully some of the comments made, but I thought it worthwhile to "bump" this thread, and to make some comments of my own. Disclaimer, my comments below are more of a collection of thoughts, observations, and impressions; not highly organized. But I invite comments.

I will preface my comments by an observation that I made from the posts

- There are different venues to be considered: from the pulpit/stage in a church; with family/friends, with strangers(or "street witnessing").

- It seemed that the people that were against the stated use of magic for witnessing, didn't seem talk of how they witness to strangers, or they just "witness" to church groups. I think we need to allow for different styles based upon different settings/circumstances.

On to my comments:
I agree that it is possible to not be a good witness, that it may not be a good idea to "button-hole" someone, or bring in the gospel as part of a paid secular show, but to take the opposite extreme also seems a poor choice. After all, doesn't God say that "My word will not return void", and even Paul rejoiced when some were preaching from wrong motives! It appears that God can still use our flawed efforts, to advance His Kingdom. (Amen!) (see my quote from DL Moody, below)

It seems to me that some of the comments about how NOT to witness were based on some bad experiences that the writer had. Certainly we have all failed at some point in the manner in which we conducted ourselves.

I strongly disagree with the comment that witnessing is to be passive. True, it can be at times, but to say that should always be passive is at best misleading, worst, just plain inconsistent with scripture. To wit, in Mt 28 we are told to "go, make disciples". Making disciples is broader in scope than witnessing, but witnessing is part of it, and it is not passive. Further, my reading of how Paul witnessed through preaching.. seemed anything but "passive". If we (just) wait for a stranger to come up to us and ask us "What must I do to be saved", hmmm, well I'll just say that I don't think that would encompass God's plan for us.


I think of a quote from DL Moody; in response to someone complaining about the way he witnesses, Moody responded something like 'I like the way I witness more than the way you don't".


For myself, I use different styles depending on the circumstances, but I do look for opportunities, and I do try to create opportunities. This may, or may not involve magic tricks. For those times that involve magic, they include 1) doing magic for family (that may include a gospel message), 2) after doing magic for friends in a public setting, I've notice that others are watching, and people come up to me and ask to see a trick(and it may include a biblical message), and 3) doing tricks in an open setting (such as street fares), where it is my desire to share the gospel with as many as I can, as the opportunity arises, and it does arise.

I have done shows for church groups, but for the most part that just seems like "preaching to the choir"; so it tends to be better labeled as "sharing", or "teaching". For these circumstances, my attitude tends to be, "why use magic" unless I want to entertain them (but I'm not saying that as a "rule", but just where I tend to be "at")

John
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Vlad_77
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I guess I'll chime. Dan Watkins of Coinvanish.com in 2002 posted a wonder quote by St. Francis of Assisi (one of my heroes) about witnessing through example. St. Francis was born into great privilege and wanted for nothing. Yet this holy man who is recognized as such even outside the Catholic Church followed Christ's words to surrender all and follow Him. St. Francis founded the order of mendicant friars that we know today as the Franciscans. In stark contrast we have megachurch corporate presences such as Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, and Jack van Impe to name a couple. I simply do not see the "example" lived out in these wealthy men as I see in people like St. Francis, St. Seraphim of Sarov, Mother Teresa, the many itinerant street "preachers" I have met who literally live meal to meal much as Christ and His Disciples did. These people are witnesses by word AND deed.

Granted, magic is a talent and all talents come from God and as such, when we use out talents we glorify Him. But, if we are witnessing, I believe that our witness should primarily be the witness of the love of the Most High. IF magic is to be used, it should be used sparingly to illustrate a point but it should never be used in a street busking manner when witness is the primary reason you are on the streets.

Witness and more importantly, worship are NOT entertainment; magic IS. No of course we do not want to portray our loving God as the "angry God" in Jonathan Edwards' famous 17th century sermon. But we must not treat our Lord with trivialities. For He is the Creator of all that is. And all around us are miracles yet too often, we sinners wait for the big miracles. But do we need to wait for the Red Sea to part again when everywhere we look we can, if we but pause a moment, witness the miracles He constantly makes for us? From the tiniest bloom to the most majestic starry night to the community of people spreading the Good News are all miracles and certainly witness in its undiluted form.

I guess what I am trying to convey is much better expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:13 and THAT is THE greatest miracle of all. It was that miracle that made our God become as we are, to suffer and die as a man as we are, and to rise again, thus defeating death and the schemes of the Evil One.
Stephon Johnson
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Here's a different take: I've started developing routines that simply illustrate a parable, using the actual memorized scripture as my patter. Why, you may ask?...
1) There is no "bait n switch" (I.e.-magic then 'let's talk Jesus')
2) Everyone loves storytelling
3) It fits with Jesus' reasoning for parables.

Also, I will preface every performance (even with church groups) with a mild disclaimer: "I am not a 'magician', nor do I pretend to have powers! I am using illusions and sleight of hand to create the special-effects needed for our stories. Let's begin!..."

So there is never a conflict of "magic" vs "Christianity" because you are making a clear distinction up front AND in how you present an effect. They hear scripture with their ears, and see objects appear, disappear, multiply, restore and change to match the story they're hearing.

The very first routine I tackled was "The Parable of the Talents" because it had money as an element, so I utilized coins/purse/cards to tell the story. I loved the creative challenge so much that I've continued to work on more and more parables and proverbs.
What do y'all think of this approach and has anyone seen or used this before in your own work?
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
wwhokie1
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Quote:
On Feb 17, 2002, Ken wrote:
I think this is the worst form of Gospel Magic. With "trick" being the key word. The magic is just a means to an end and because of that it is seen as being just a tool to get your point across rather than being a genuine expression of something much more significant.

It's like talking to some street evangelist who pretends to be listening and interested in what you are saying but all along they are just waiting for the opportunity to hit you over the head with their version of the truth. They cannot listen properly because they are already thinking about what to say next.

If magic has a place to play in enabling effective communication between people then I think we need to be careful about hidden agendas and realize that open and honest communication is what is needed. A cheap trick used as a cheap shot not only devalues magic but more importantly undermines what the Gospel is really about.

Best wishes
Ken



Agree, If you want someone to genuinely listen to what you have to say, then you must also be genuinely interested in what they have to say. Why should someone care about what you believe if you don't care about what they believe. That doesn't mean you have to agree with them, but it also doesn't mean that they have to agree with you. Evangelism where you are only interested in the person until they reject what you believe and at that point it is time to forget them and move on to the next person, is selfish and ultimately comes across as being more about how many people you can "save" instead of actually caring about other people. This is a major reason people are turned off, they feel like they are just another number to log on someones list of accomplishments.
funsway
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There is an ancient saying, "treat every stranger as if they carry a message from God - for they do!"

I have read all of the posts above once more searching for a hint of appreciation that part of "witness" is allowing others to be witness for you. Every person -- friend, enemy, kin , preacher, teacher and village idiot has some personal experience with Divine Presence from which you can learn. Yes, "attention and retention " are key to educating another, and "doing a trick" might be valid for "Attention" in some circumstances (rare). The essential element is having permission to offer your personal witnessing combined with granting permission to another to share theirs. Do you expect another to sing a song, do a trick or dance to get your attention before being witness to God's work in their lives?

No -- the proper form of preaching/teaching/influencing another with affect is to be congruent in who you are perceived to be and who who perceive yourself to be. Any falsehood in either will cause another to reject your witnessing. The finest form of witnessing is for someone to come to you and say, "I admire your confidence, the wisdom of your words, the way you raise your children and treat strangers. From where comes your inspiration? What is the source of your courage?

Then it is time to share open heart and hand, and perhaps a hint of your religious beliefs.

Alternately, you can surround yourself with others who already think as you do and pretend you are doing the Lord's work. You may need a magic trick to two to keep these folks from wandering off to the mall.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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