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Richard Osterlind
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Tony,

I often appear in Churches and for very different reasons. Sometimes I am asked to do a children’s message. (Usually on the spur of the moment when no one else has anything!!!!) Then, I have a stock of effects that I feel not only are perfect for the kids, but interesting for the adults as well.

Other times, if I am called on to teach a lesson or do the Sunday or Wednesday night service, I usually do not do any magic. I really try hard not to just “stick it in” every chance I get. Finally, I recently did a special presentation for the combined Sunday School classes of one Church where a number of people were taken in by a “TV magician” who had convinced them he had supernatural powers. I showed them that amazing things can happen by a person who is ordinary and a Christian.

Gospel Dan,

I agree with everything you have said. I think the major focus here should be “appropriate”. You need to do what is the best for the situation at hand. Being a professional, I am aware of that in all my shows. As a matter of fact, I would say the most difficult thing about being a professional magician or mentalist is “reading” your audience and knowing what is the best way to go given the conditions and the group you are performing for.

As for who gets the credit in a performance, let me once again mention my books. I have laid out in them one of the biggest complaints I have about performers in general. (This includes ALL magicians) They focus too much on THEMSELVES instead of the magic. If you agree with me that magic is an art, then THAT is where your focus should be. All your effort should be in performing that effect in the best way possible.

Now as to Gospel magic, you must begin with WHY you are doing it. My own thoughts on this are as follows. I want to capture the attention of my audience in a way that makes them pay attention to every word I have to say. I want to push a button that makes them interested and intrigued. Then I want to do something that produces a child-like wonder in the impossibility of the effect. Then, in some sort of way depending on the effect, I want to “link” that impossibility to some Gospel truth in a logical way. I use the word “link” in the same sense as a memory system. If they remember the effect, and talk about it to others, there’s a really good chance they will remember, and talk about, the message also! Let me give just one example of the kind of magic I do.

I ask to borrow a dollar from a member of the audience. I slowly fold it up and then unfold it showing it is a $100 bill. (You know the method, of course) This is very startling as it is so clean. Then I tell the congregation that, since I love them so much, after the service I am going to take them all outside and teach them how to do it as a special gift! I make a point of explaining that after they have done it once, then can go to the bank on Monday, get 100 singles for the $100 bill, and do it again 100 times. That means by Monday night, they will have $10,000! By Tuesday night, it will be 1 million! And by Wednesday night it will be 100 million!!! This always gets a big laugh. Then, I explain that I am a magician and what they just saw was only a “fantasy”. As I tell them this, I fold the bill back up and turn it back into a dollar and give it back.

But then, I explain that as wonderful as that fantasy was as we were enjoying it, what is all that money compared to an eternity of paradise and happiness? And then I tell them that they don’t even have to “learn” anything, as this gift only requires they give their heart to Jesus and accept him as their personal Lord and Savior. I tell them man’s wonders can’t even begin to come close to those that God has given us all through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus and the Blessed Assurance of Eternal Salvation.

That is the gist of it and represents how I do Gospel Magic.

Richard
Dan Bernier
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Off topic: I have had a few people dare to ask me if Criss Angel is supernatural.(lol) Or, they ask if I can walk up a side of a building.(lol) I tell them that I can't walk up a wall, but I've been accused of driving some people up one. (he, he):)
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Terry Owens
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I'm going to go broke now running out to buy all of Richards stuff...lol

I agree whole heartedly with what he's sharing. Part of my drive over the past year is due to the poor quality of what is called "gospel magic". That's why I've spent over 10,000 dollars over the last 12 months upgrading my program so I can offer the best I can to those I minister to. I can't help it, I'm driven...driven by a desire to reach a lost and dying world, driven to present the best program that I can...I've added additional type of programs to my offering. Some have seen my children's program, and how God has blessed that, but I'm beginning to branch out to the College students and adults...please help me pray that a door will be open.

I'm not just saying this to stroke Richard's ego, but your last 2 posts has set my heart on fire...what you shared previously is my heart and passion too...

Can you adopt me Richard...pretty please.
mormonyoyoman
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Quote:
On 2008-04-07 18:54, Terry Owens wrote:
I'm going to go broke now running out to buy all of Richards stuff...lol


Terry, it's an investment. It'll pay off.

Quote:
Can you adopt me Richard...pretty please.


There's a title for the next DVD set: SON OF OSTERLIND.

What an interesting thread this has been!

Returning to the first post, as far as the terms "magic," "illusion," or something else... When I was in Korea, we had many friends who spoke little English -- and we spoke even less Korean! For us to communicate, we had to determine terminology. That is, I had to know "yobesei-o" meant "hello" and our friends had to know that "hello" meant "yobesei-o."

If we want to communicate with people to whom "magic" means "satanism" then we must find out what their term is for what we call "magic."

And I can't help but think that a lot of the difficulties will be overcome if we, like Richard shows, have actual *meaning* to our magic. This, by the way, Terry, is why Richard's work (Get *the Osterlind Trilogy* book!) is an investment.

*jeep!
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Richard Osterlind
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Terry,

That was a very kind post. Thank you so much for words that are so touching and know that I will pray for your success and for the many souls that I'm sure you will touch.

(Although, in all honesty, I was just beginning to get over my age when you had to go and assume I am old enough to be your father!)

But I am very happy that all these posts have caused some deep thinking about the matter.

Chet,

You are a sweetheart, but NO, you can't have a finder's fee for helping sell my stuff!


God Bless Smile
Richard
daffydoug
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Quote:
On 2004-01-09 02:13, Daniel Faith wrote:
My thought is:

I have found that many Christians are much more tolerant of my "gospel magic" when I call myself a "Christian illusionist"

What are your thoughts on this. I understand it's a play on words and WE all know it's the same thing...but, some Christians seem to be a lot more tolerant when the word "magic" is not used.

I use my magic within the church and even with my second grade Sunday school class and have so far had no objections to my "magic."

Any thoughts on this?


My personal experience, in the Assembly of God where I was attending, was just the opposite. My pastor, when he learned that I do "magic" and that I wanted to do gospel magic presentation, was ready to burn me at the stake!

He simply would not hear of it in his church! When I tried to say it was illusions, as you mentioned, his reply was that it did not make any difference what I named it, it was still evil, and it was still "of the devil". and he once heard of a witch doctor who compared a magician to himself, and said "Oh, you do the same thing I do."

Therefore, in this pastors thinking, all magic is akin to voodoo.

I got out of that church.

So my experience on the subject is predominantly negative.

Posted: Apr 7, 2008 9:46pm
Richard, you are an amazing man, in more ways than one! Thank-you for blessing us with that wonderful post.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Cybersloughter
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On 2008-04-07 21:40, daffydoug wrote:

My personal experience, in the Assembly of God where I was attending, was just the opposite. My pastor, when he learned that I do "magic" and that I wanted to do gospel magic presentation, was ready to burn me at the stake!

He simply would not hear of it in his church! When I tried to say it was illusions, as you mentioned, his reply was that it did not make any difference what I named it, it was still evil, and it was still "of the devil". and he once heard of a witch doctor who compared a magician to himself, and said "Oh, you do the same thing I do."

Therefore, in this pastors thinking, all magic is akin to voodoo.

I got out of that church.

So my experience on the subject is predominantly negative.

I can feel your pain. I live in a city that hosts a Christian TV Broadcasting company, Three Seperate Internation Offices for Three different denominations, more churches are listed in the phone book than resturants, one Christian University, one Christian Bible College, and more hipocrates per square mile then anywhere I have ever lived in my entire life.

I have literally been asked not to come back to a church here before because my hair was longer then they wanted me to have it. I saw someone flip off another person while driving, while having "It's okay to be closed minded as long as your right" and "In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned" bumperstickers...

I am reminded of an old quote that said something along the lines of "The leading cause of atheism in the world today is Christians..."

JLJ

Posted: Apr 7, 2008 10:29pm Reply with quote Send a Private Message View Profile of Cybersloughter Edit/Delete This Post Report this post to forum moderator View Posters IP (Moderators/Admins Only)
I LOVE how this thread has been going lately.

It does my heart good to hear of people actually working to not only bring Christ to more people, but to also be working on ways to improve what they do to carry that message.

If it hasn't been obvious, I have a strong pet peeve with people who only half-heartedly do something "in the name of Christ".

I am also seeing ways in which the performances that we enjoy doing can actually be worked in such a way as to entertain while still be relevant to reaching people.

So how about this for another question: How much of your (any of you) performances are done to bring the Gospel to new people and how much is done in churches working with people who (hopefully) are already saved? Most of my effects and routines that I have thought out work better as object lessons for people who have some experience or education in Christianity and basic theology. My lesson on Freewill versus Predestination using Devin Knight's Tri-Epic comes to mind as a good example of that. Admitadly, that routine/lesson is one that I have been devising for when I finally get to start teaching basic theology or religion at the college level.

JLJ
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... a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism
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Heres Tony
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I commend you Richard for being a "name" within the magic and mentalism communities and having the willingness to share your heart. It's uplifting to the believers and may be just the thing that some folks need to hear right now in their lives.

Tony Brent
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Terry Owens
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Richard...Your age had nothing to do with the adoption request. You could be 25, you would just have an older son...lol

When a church brings me in it's about ministering to their people and reaching new folks to Christ. We get a lot of folks that are not from any church coming to our programs. My main goal when I go into a church is to share the Gospel and win the lost. I even have it in my contract that I will be permitted to give an altar call.

Right now I've had to cut back on my traveling because I am a Senior Pastor and District Overseer, but I was working in 12 to 14 states a year, 30 to 40 weeks a year, 6 days a week...but I give God all the Glory for the results that we've seen. Literally thouands saved, people being Filled with His Spirit, healings and miracles taking place...you could be surprised what God can do with your program if you let Him.

As Richard so charged us...aspire to be the best you can be.

Back what you do with prayer...even raise up people who are praying directly for you and your ministry...don't be afraid to invest in your ministry...it has long term rewards.
Richard Osterlind
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Terry,

As a mentalist, you certainly "knew" I was joking about my age. I feel like a 35 year old with 100 years experience! Smile

To those who have had unpleasant experiences in some churches,

I once had a pastor (a very young one) from Eastern Kentucky who said he would never allow drums in the Church! (I thought there was something in the Bible about cymbals crashing!) My first pastor was from New Hampshire and he thought women should only wear pants in Church if the zipper were on the side!

Why is anyone surprised about some churches? Look at the Letters in the Bible, who they were to and what they said. The Church was still in its infancy and its leaders were already messing things up! Didn't Paul have to reprimand Peter and yet didn't Paul say that he wants to do right even though he keeps doing wrong?

No, Christians aren't the leading cause of atheism, Satan is! You can't be a Christian if you don't recognize his existence. Unfortunately those "two natures" exist in all of us. I would dare say that some of these prejudices mentioned may have been brought on by others or a bad upbringing. But to moan a sad state of affairs is not the correct response. If all else fails, give it to Jesus. He will take care of it for you.

Let me mention something that might be useful. “The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic” is filled with items that are more “stunts” than traditional magic. You might consider using some of them in your messages if you think magic might not be totally appropriate. These are scientific in nature and cannot be faulted in any way. From there, it might be easier to move into a magical effect or two once you get you audience into the proper state of mind.

You know, I have never really gotten into the “Gospel Magic” section of magic catalogs or dealt with that whole scene. I have always tried to create my own ideas and apply them in a meaningful way. I have also tried to stay away from traditional magical props in Church such as Linking Rings or Cups and Balls. Because I just start talking and bring out ordinary objects, I don’t turn off anyone simply by the sight of some shiny piece of apparatus or magic wand. Who knows what that might conjure up in some people’s minds?

Just some more thoughts,
Richard
Dan Bernier
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We should always be praying for our leaders. Did I emphasise "Leaders"? Let me try again. We should always be praying for our LEADERS. I should also emphasise, "always", but I think most get the point.
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Payne
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Quote:
On 2008-04-08 11:30, Gospel Dan wrote:
We should always be praying for our leaders. Did I emphasise "Leaders"? Let me try again. We should always be praying for our LEADERS. I should also emphasise, "always", but I think most get the point.


And as your praying you should also always question them as well. Never follow anyone or anything blindly. After all "God" gave you a brain and intellect for a reason (pun intended)
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Dan Bernier
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That's why it's so important Payne for us to read the Bible for ourselves everyday and not just books about the Bible. It is also very important for us to communicate with God through our prayers if we really desire to have a relationship with Christ.

If we have a good friend that we have known for a long time and someone comes up to us and says something that contradicts their character, we will question what the person is saying, and even defend our friends character. But if we know nothing or very little of the person they are talking about, we can easily be fooled.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Terry Owens
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I just got off the phone with a lady who watches me on television...I'm on a panel of pastors who answers calls from viewers about the bible and how much she liked my biblical answers, and then she let me know she has seen me perform magic on television...I'm on in 170 countries...she didn't like the fact I did the magic until I told her the results that I get from doing it...I was kind and calm as I explained how God endorses what I do and that we've seen so many people saved.

Remember, sometimes people just need a simple explanation and a soft answer turns away wrath.
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On 2008-04-08 15:02, Terry Owens wrote:
... Remember, sometimes people just need a simple explanation and a soft answer turns away wrath.


I wish it were always this way. My desk is right beside the call center for our company, and far too often do I hear calls where no matter how soft of an answer we give, the person on the phone refuses to release their anger. I have worked retail for many years, and having grown up in the church, and now working for a Christian company, I have to say that Christians seem to be one of hardest headed groups of people I have ever seen. Smile (And may God have mercy on us if a Victoria Secret commercial airs on one of our secular channels...)

Regardless of that, let me say that through my work and my life, I have too often seen things that have been branded "Christian" that end up being second rate rip-offs of something that is popular in secular culture. While working on the programming for our children's channel, I have seen shows that are seriously scarey or outright rip-offs of other things. And Christian music... well, sometimes I really wish there was never a lable "Christian". If the art is good, it should be able to stand on it's own.

Relating that to magic, just today I saw a snippet of a children's show on one of our channels that had a lady using a fire Bible. It was fun, and she was giving a lesson on Ruth. But too often, Christian magic seems to be to be poorly repackaged rip-offs of other effects. I recently worked with a friend of mine who does Gospel Illusion figuring out how to do an effect he bought at a convention that used stickers stacked with a phrase that caused all the stickers to match. It was a repackaging of an old packet trick with some new phrasing and no credit to anyone else who may have originated that effect.

I say that if someone is a Christian and they perform good magic, like Richard Osterlin or Justin Miller, then I can enjoy what they do. If someone doesn't put any effort or thought into what they do and end up with bad shows and poorly thought out routines, then I would probably leave the show early.

I don't like mean, cranky Christians who call our call center and are mean to our reps, but that doesn't mean I don't like all Christians. I'm not going to let the actions of a few destroy my views on all, and I would like to think the same with Christian magic.

JLJ
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... a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism
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John Long
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Quote:
On 2008-04-08 12:19, Gospel Dan wrote:
That's why it's so important Payne for us to read the Bible for ourselves everyday and not just books about the Bible. It is also very important for us to communicate with God through our prayers if we really desire to have a relationship with Christ.

If we have a good friend that we have known for a long time and someone comes up to us and says something that contradicts their character, we will question what the person is saying, and even defend our friends character. But if we know nothing or very little of the person they are talking about, we can easily be fooled.

Amen.
Quote:
On 2008-04-07 18:54, Terry Owens wrote:
I'm going to go broke now running out to buy all of Richards stuff...lol

Well, I'm not about to run out an buy all of Richard's stuff, but I am going to give it a second look (I think I only have have one effect of Richard's from a L&L/WGM dvd).

Richard: I like the attitude you expressed of doing your best with the presentations. I recognize that we have different niches, different venues..., but we can all seek to be faithful stewards with the gifts and opportunities God has entrusted to us.

John
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daffydoug
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Cyber, I think you hit it right on the head when you said Christians can be hard headed! Kind of like stubborn sheep that don't want to be led.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Dan Bernier
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Quote:
On 2008-04-09 17:24, daffydoug wrote:
Cyber, I think you hit it right on the head when you said Christians can be hard headed! Kind of like stubborn sheep that don't want to be led.


Here's a postive way to look at that. Christians, some, most, however you want to perceive it, will not allow themselves to be lead astray with man made theology, but stand strong in their faith and spiritual knowledge given to them by God. They refuse to be lead by anything other than Jesus Christ who set an example for all of us to live by.

I believe it was Mark Twain who once said, "I do not want to hear about the moon from someone who hasn't been there" I guess Mark Twain was hard headed to, but I don't think he was a christian.
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mormonyoyoman
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On 2008-04-09 17:24, daffydoug wrote:
Cyber, I think you hit it right on the head when you said Christians can be hard headed! Kind of like stubborn sheep that don't want to be led.


Stiff-neckedness seems to be a genetic trait of all who are/were of the House of Israel. (Yes, my ancestors on my mother's side were from the Northern Country of Israel and resented being mistaken for Judah descendants.)

The Lord certainly has been more patient with me and my family than I know we deserve!

*jeep!
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Dan Bernier
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Quote:
On 2008-04-09 18:32, mormonyoyoman wrote:
Stiff-neckedness seems to be a genetic trait of all who are/were of the House of Israel.


What are you meaning when you use the word, "Stiff-neckedness"? And who exactly are you referring to when you say, "House of Israel"?

I edited my original post because I felt I may have been jumping the gun prematurely with my first comment to your post. Your answers to my questions will help me to understand more of where you're coming from.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
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