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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Good News! » » Does magic get in the way of the message? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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FriarShaun
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I have attempted to teach and preach with magic, but I must admit that I find people remember the illusion more than the point. In fact sometimes I wonder if the magic has too strong of an impact? It is as if the illusion shorts all memory of everything around it. I have been contemplating a different approach. I am thinking of doing the strongest affects I can, really wowing them, and then transitioning into my point, without illusion. Using the magic to earn the right to speak if you will. What do you think? Has anyone ever had anyone come up after an affect and explain that they really got the point?
RevJohn
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I have a friend, who is also a pastor, that will not do Magic in his Children's sermons, because of that same reason. That the kids remember the illusion more than the message.

I have found that not to be the case, if my presentation is supported by the illusion and not the other way around.

John
dbearden
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I agree with John....many people (including myself in my younger days) make the mistake of taking an illusion and tacking a message on to it.....in order to keep folk's thinking along the lines you want them to, you should start with the message and use an illusion to support the message. The the proverbial "light bulbs" tend to flash on and people associate the message and illusion.
Terry Owens
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What I do in my Crusades, the message is illustrated by the magic. Ie...trading places, the PB & J effect I talk about how Christ traded places with us.

It also depends which program I'm doing...If I'm doing an outreach program called "Can you believe: An evening of Illusion, Laughter and Ministry" that is more on traditional show, with great teaching seeds interwoven with a finish that leads to a powerful altar call. But with my crusades, I think of the theme that I'm teaching on and then put together effects that illustrate my topic. So each night of the crusade has a particular preaching/teaching theme which I illustrate using professional level equipment. I don't even emphasis the fact that I'm doing magic, it just kind of infered, so the emphasis is more on the message than the magic.

That method has worked well for me for 28 years and thousands saved...

Blessings!
rossmacrae
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This is the persistent and pervasive problem with "Gospel Magic" - it's not useless, but it's awfully easy to put together a routine badly and ineffectively.

Too many well-meaning magi try to force a message into just any old effect, which can be awfully annoying to an audience. It takes both magical skill and (mindful of the larger goal) skill in conveying a gospel message. But that's why they don't just go to the unemployment office and hire the next guy in line as a preacher.

But that's not what you asked ... and I don't agree that the magic obscures the message in most cases. As both educators and advertising professionals are fond of saying, "every time you repeat a point it makes another copy in your brain."

Even if you're performing for kids who get goggle-eyed over the effects and can't repeat the message back to you, the message hasn't vanished - a complete impression has been made. That's why, after years of being bored to death in kiddie Sunday-school lessons, and far more interested in the Bible stories than I was in the points they made, all these years later I can recall not only the "biggie" Bible verses but plenty of less-familiar passages as well, and use them in discussions. Repetition, even though the key content may not be received as strongly as the "packaging."

So what if your routine (or your entire show) doesn't result in a single conversion at the time? You have either planted an initial seed in someone's mind, or reinforced an idea that has already been conveyed. You will probably never know what the payoff will be farther downstream.
Hearttau
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Rossmacrae and I have made similar observations it seems. It may not be obvious during or right after a performance that the message has made an impact, but if your message delivery is clear and well done you probably have planted seeds in memory which will blossom later.

Dave
Lentidigitator: “A magic artist who performs slow motion magic”... Rene Lavand

"Peace and all good"... St. Francis

"Hold on to your joy!"... Me Smile

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Terry Owens
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It all depends what you're going for. In my performances and crusades I give an altar call that calls for a particular response. If I was doing a Sunday school program, I would be going for just sharing the truth. There's a BIG difference between the two types of sharing. Nothing is wrong with just trying to communicate a message but my goal is to lead men and women, boys and girls to Jesus Christ. I expect to see people saved, I pray to that end and God gives the increase.
rossmacrae
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Quote:
On 2008-02-19 21:28, Terry Owens wrote:
Nothing is wrong with just trying to communicate a message but my goal is to lead men and women, boys and girls to Jesus Christ. I expect to see people saved, I pray to that end and God gives the increase.

I'm just saying that not all good rewards are immediate rewards.

Good for you if your messages prompt immediate responses. But don't sell yourself short - you are also creating long-term awareness at the same time. That is "leading" too.

I hope you don't go home unhappy if a crowd doesn't flock to the altar after every show. Don't ignore the individuals who don't respond to calls for immediate action. Many people are more thoughtful than emotional, and (a) take time to decide, or resist the implication that 'you'd better choose now or you've lost your chance,' and (b) may need a lengthy series of repeated impressions to absorb the message.

Who can say how many different ways the spirit works on a soul?
Dan Bernier
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I think that when we use magic tricks to present the message of Jesus Christ we are always at risk of getting the magic in the way of the message. Like everything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way. One of my theories is to always come up with the message first, then look to see where you can use a few gospel tricks to help illustrate some of the points in your message. The only real purpose for bringing in magic tricks is to make our message entertaining, and we can't believe that magic tricks makes the message stronger. If we actually believe the tricks make the message more undertstandable or more powerful, then what we're saying is that the Bible isn't enough, that it's through our skills and abilities along with the Word of God that saves people. If all we do is perform magic as a christian entertainer strictly for entertainment purposes only, let our actions and our conduct be a clear representation of the message of Jesus Christ. In all we do, may others see Jesus in us.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Terry Owens
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Quote:
On 2008-02-20 01:25, Gospel Dan wrote:
The only real purpose for bringing in magic tricks is to make our message entertaining, and we can't believe that magic tricks makes the message stronger. If we actually believe the tricks make the message more undertstandable or more powerful, then what we're saying is that the Bible isn't enough, that it's through our skills and abilities along with the Word of God that saves people.


I couldn't disagree with you more...in the hands of someone who is called to the ministry, "Gospel magic" is a highly effective tool of communications. Any educator will tell you the more senses you involve the more likely you will remember what is being conveyed. Jesus Himself used parables and physical illustrations to convey the truths He was teaching and He was the Word. Gospel magic if done correctly helps to convey a truth that you are trying to teach. I have several television spots that air in 170 countries that do just that. Feel free to visit one my sites and take a look at them...the magic doesn't get in the way of the message.

And for Ross...I believe it was DL Moody that once asked a young preacher...do you expect people to get saved every time you preach, the young preacher said no...DL Moody replied, that's why you don't.

I go in with those expectations, that's why churches bring me in and God doesn't disappoint me. I'm not a guy doing some magic tricks trying to be cute and tell a sweet bible story...I'm passionate about what I do, I take it seriously, it's bathed in prayer and anointed by God....anything less is a setup for just another cute Gospel story. With 85% of all folks coming to Christ come under the age of 18, we have to be prepared to reach that harvest.

And I don't always see all the eternal outcomes from my programs, no Evangelist ever does, so that's always a given. But having empty altars is not an option for me.
Ethan the emazing
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Quote:
On 2008-02-20 08:22, Terry Owens wrote:
Quote:
On 2008-02-20 01:25, Gospel Dan wrote:
The only real purpose for bringing in magic tricks is to make our message entertaining, and we can't believe that magic tricks makes the message stronger. If we actually believe the tricks make the message more understandable or more powerful, then what we're saying is that the Bible isn't enough, that it's through our skills and abilities along with the Word of God that saves people.


I couldn't disagree with you more...in the hands of someone who is called to the ministry, "Gospel magic" is a highly effective tool of communications. Any educator will tell you the more senses you involve the more likely you will remember what is being conveyed. Jesus Himself used parables and physical illustrations to convey the truths He was teaching and He was the Word. Gospel magic if done correctly helps to convey a truth that you are trying to teach. I have several television spots that air in 170 countries that do just that. Feel free to visit one my sites and take a look at them...the magic doesn't get in the way of the message.

And for Ross...I believe it was DL Moody that once asked a young preacher...do you expect people to get saved every time you preach, the young preacher said no...DL Moody replied, that's why you don't.

I go in with those expectations, that's why churches bring me in and God doesn't disappoint me. I'm not a guy doing some magic tricks trying to be cute and tell a sweet bible story...I'm passionate about what I do, I take it seriously, it's bathed in prayer and anointed by God....anything less is a setup for just another cute Gospel story. With 85% of all folks coming to Christ come under the age of 18, we have to be prepared to reach that harvest.

And I don't always see all the eternal outcomes from my programs, no Evangelist ever does, so that's always a given. But having empty altars is not an option for me.


I agree with Terry. Being a teen myself I can tell you that illustrations and/or "magic" is a great tool. It can help, or hurt your message. I believe that it depends on: who your trying to reach, why your trying to reach them, and how. Like stated before if you support your trick by message it can hurt the message. But if you support your message with a trick I believe it helps tremendously.
rossmacrae
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Quote:
On 2008-02-20 08:22, Terry Owens wrote:
And for Ross...I believe it was DL Moody that once asked a young preacher...do you expect people to get saved every time you preach, the young preacher said no...DL Moody replied, that's why you don't.

I write a nice supportive post - "don't forget the unseen good you do whether you see scads of emotion-driven instant-converts or not" - and you argue with me like I'm trying to tear you down.

[*sigh*]
Dan Bernier
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"Any educator will tell you the more senses you involve the more likely you will remember what is being conveyed."

Wow, I understand that you take what you do for the Lord very serious Terry, and I commend you for that. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is active in your ministry. We will have to agree to disagree on this point though. Jesus' parables and magic tricks are two entirely different things. I can't honestly picture Jesus or his Disciples performing magic tricks to keep the people interrested in what they were saying. If we can't reach people with the Gospel alone, what are we saying? Some of us would rather look outwardly when feeling that our preaching is not being effective instead of looking inwardly. It's not the Gospel that's lacking but the preacher who is lacking. If a preacher puts people to sleep, it's not because the Gospel is boring, it means the preacher is boring. I still stand by what I said. We don't need to add magic tricks to our ministry to make it effective. The only thing we need and require in our ministry to make it effective is the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am both a preacher and a christian entertainer. My outreach ministry is evangalizing to non-believers, and I use magic for entertainment purposes only to help open dialoge with the people I meet. I could use comedy, juggling, or any other form of christian entertainment but I chose to use what I was good at. I also perform Gospel Magic for churches as well, but I don't believe it should replace the regular service.

As far as what other educator's say, I can't respond to their statement unless I know what exactly they are trying to convey, and if they are christians or not.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Terry Owens
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Dan...we basically are in agreement, but I come from a different perspective than most who do Gospel magic. I didn't have any outside influences when I began putting together my Crusades, never even heard of Gospel magic. When I put something together, I think of the message I'm wanting to convey, and then how can I illustrate that message...then the effects that I do become my 3 point outline. If you took a look at my spots, you will see where I'm coming from. The motive is the message and not magic when doing them. It's not a means to augment the Gospel message, but it is one of the means to help me communicate the message. They are nothing more than object lessons to illustrate a truth and that is exactly what Jesus did, whether it was showing a piece of grain and talking about it needing to die and fall into the ground. (That was an object lesson to drive home the truth.) or teaching with parables. Jesus met people at their point of understanding to share His Word with them. That in my mind is what Gospel Magic should be...nothing more than an object lesson to illustrate the truth.

When I'm performing my special shows, I don't really consider that Gospel magic...I am a Christian, who is entertaining with illusion to earn the right to share the gospel which is what I do in the end and it's there that we agree.

Ross...I know you were originally trying to be encouraging. My point was that we need to raise our expectations of what we see happening in our services that we conduct. If we see no results, all we can do is reflect on was I prepared properly, did I seek God like I should before this meeting and if I did, then I just trust God that He did what He desired to do and leave it in His hands.

God has been good to me in my ministry and I'm so thankful that there are those who do listen and respond to the voice of the Lord in the altar. Not everyone is in a position of harvest yet. So when I'm doing a program, I'm either sowing, watering but it's always God that gives the increase.

As magicians, we can't afford to excuse poor preparation, and poor performances with excuses of why we see no results. If we are doing service after service and see no results in the altars, then we really need to take a close examination of ourselves. If the church in the book of Acts saw God adding to the church daily, then we can have that same expectation that God will add to His kingdom using us as his vessels...

What a great opportunity we have, getting to perform and win folks to Christ.
Dan Bernier
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Hi Terry,

I too did not even know anything about Gospel Magic when I started looking into using tricks in my Gospel message. I thought I was inventing something new.(lol)I was both surprised and happy to see that many others were already doing what I was thinking about doing. People like you and many others helped pave the way for people like me. In the beginning many christians were very against the practice of magic, even if applied to biblical truths. It was easier for me because arguememnts for Gospel magic had already been made, and several of them really good arguements.

However, I also find that Gospel Magic is a "free for all", open to anyone who can perform Gospel tricks, rather than being led by our Lord to share the message of Jesus Christ. I'm not talking about people who use a few tricks to witness to others about their faith, and I'm not talking about christians who perform magic as entertainment only, I'm speaking about those who use magic as a way to get into ministry. I personally believe that there has not been enough said in regards to the Ministry aspect of Gospel magic from both a biblical side and moral side, and I think that as more young people look to get into Gospel magic they need to understand what they are getting into spiritually and biblically. As christians we have spiritual rules to follow, shouldn't there be rules for Gospel Magicians as well?
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Terry Owens
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I put the note in the other spot and I'll say it here...I agree 110% with what you just said...200% actually...I would go higher, but I wouldn't want to over do it...

A historical side note: Gospel magic has been around since the early 1900's being used by a pastor and the minister who led the way was a friend of Howard Thurston. From the genre of Gospel magic, children's performers were born here in the United States.

Keep the faith!
paulmagic
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My focus is the message and magic is for me just one means to support the message. Magic will help as long as the gospel message is the main focus. I think that every one of us who begins using gospel magic will have to find the right balance of message / magic. We will eventually find the right balance that suits the occassion, our level of skill and personality so that the magic enhances the message and not take away the spotlight from the message.

Having said that, there will always be a small percentage that will be more interested in the magic and not the message! I have come to accept it.

As I am a pastor who now ministers 90% of the time in a local setting, I like to use magic to entertain, make friends, help people relax, and change the impression that Christians (esp pastors)are uptight super holy, legalistic etc.
People do not expect me to have a magic effect for every sermon ...

For outreach meetings, activities, special occassions, it is now almost an expectation (Been in this church for nearly 13 months now)especially with the children and guests (regular and new) which is fine with me. I think I have become wiser not to use too much magic by doing shorter routines that allow me to interact with my audience. I supplement with other fun stuff like quizzes, presentations, games etc (as part of a whole programme and not just the "message portion") Bottom line - magic is just one part and it's both part of the entertainment as well as the message.
Many Blessings!!

Paul
ibm_usa
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Can A Trick Distract From The Message?

Yes if you put way too much emphasis on it

No, There is nothing on this planet, in this whole universe that is powerful enough to totally distract those who are wanting to hear God's word from having the chance! Those who believe that Gospel Illusions should be kept small are kidding themselves, that is ridiculous. One could spread the Gospel using large Illusions like those found in Copperfield's Show, just ask magicians like Kirby Van Birch! God's power and Word is more powerful then anything a card flipping magician or a box spinning illusionist has to offer.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

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ibm_usa
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But as a Christian Illusionist, I find it best to put on a High Quality show because of the High Standards I'm doing it for- I want to do the most excellent I can to glorify Christ, that means practice, rehearsal and more practice to make sure everything is right and not out of place.

Poor performances will distract viewers from the message.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
ibm_usa
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Just remember to do your best, you will have your good days and your bad days in a ministry show. Just trust Christ will get through to those that need him.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
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