Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Archive for August, 2012

One Nail…

Would tear right through you, but multiple nails provides just enough support to hold a persons’s body weight.

The Bed of nails is nothing mystical, but a matter of physics. Now what they don’t tell you in your science class is that if you don’t have just enough nails, then it is incredibly painful. They also fail to mention that every single movement you make shifts your weight, driving different nails into your skin in different places.

Why don’t they tell you these things? Because in a demonstration of physics they aren’t important, because you simply lay still and everyone wonders at the marvels of physics…Not really. They wonder and ask if it hurts, but they may move on thinking back to 8th grade science when they saw the demonstration for themselves.

Why the mundane attitude? Because what I am doing in my newest escape is something that has never been done by anyone anywhere, ever.

A real magician does something new…

What I have developed is something that has never been seen on any stage anywhere. It is something that could truly be deadly. I have taken the bed of nails from it’s physics class roots and brought it to a place that will be unforgettable.

Stay tuned this fall to see what happens with the Bed of Nails.

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Update for August

Thought I’d take a minute today to just give you guys an update into our ministry and all of the things going on.

God has opened up a lot of great doors for us this past year, and has allowed us to work with some truly awesome people in our effort to share the Gospel all over the world. We have revamped and added all kinds of new material for the show, and have been debuting some newer stuff ever so slightly over the past few months. On the illusion end of things, right now I am working on revamping the bed of nails into something that has literally never been done before by anyone. Hopefully I’ll have more news on that in the next coming weeks as I start putting it together.

We have just gotten in our newest t-shirts, which will be available for sale on the merch store next week. Here is a picture of the two versions of the shirt.

Guys

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And here is the girls version.

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So be sure to check out those at the merch store

We had a great weekend this past week in Owensboro, KY. They were originally expecting about 150 people, but nearly 700 showed up. It was a great night, great people to perform for. The best part of everything though was the response to the Gospel. It’s always so cool to see God move.

Today is going to be a bit short because unfortunately Hurricane Isaac decided to just hover and sling rain on us all day long. So here is an interactive trick that you can try that will remind you of sunny and brighter days.

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Is there really good or evil?

 

That’s the question everyone has to answer before they start arguing their worldview on moral issues.

For instance when someone claims that Christianity has committed many vast “evils” over the centuries, you would have to assume that they have some system of morality that they are basing it on.

Atheists can’t do anything good?

Let me clarify a point that is very easily and too often misconstrued and misquoted by atheists.

The idea is that Christians believe that people who are atheists can’t live moral lives.

What is Absolute or Objective Morality

Now it doesn’t take very much effort to see that this notion is absolutely wrong. Of course people who don’t believe in God can live in a “moral” way. There is nothing preventing them from choosing to do something good or evil. That’s not where the crux of the argument really lies. Even the most diehard atheist, like Sam Harris, will tell you that absolute morality exists. that is, to quote Dr. William Lane Craig:

“To say that there are objective values is too say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.”

They see from looking around in the world that certain things are right and certain things are wrong regardless of what the regime or government or people in charge say. The idea of murder is wrong regardless of whether someone such as Hitler thinks it was right.

They go to great lengths to point out all of the “evils” that religion has caused over the years, but there is a fundamental problem with this argument that is touted in lockstep.

The problem is that on an atheistic or naturalistic (the view that there is nothing beyond the natural) worldview, there is no reason for absolute morality to exist.

Fundamental Problem

What that basically means is that if there is no God to give us a moral law, then everything we know about morality, right and wrong, good and evil, is just subjective. Your view is no more important than anyone else’s. Your view is no more right than anyone else’s. What that basically boils down to is that if there is no absolute morality than we cannot call the actions of Hitler, Stalin, or anything else that seems evil or wrong in the world.

If morality is a subjective  mindset, then there is no reason not to charge forward and do everything in your power to better yourself and only yourself, leaving everyone else in the dust behind you. Even talk atheist by Richard Dawkins and Bertrand Russell knew this to be the case.

So yes without God you can act and be moral, but there is no foundation for morality other than God.

What responses have you heard to the moral argument?

How would you respond?

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It’s not fair…

But we knew that going in to it.

One thing that irks me more than anything, are blatant double standards…especially when I’m on the other side.

When it comes to Christianity and embracing the culture there is a clear double standard between reason and emotion. Christians are not allowed to argue anything except for concrete fact. In fact the standard for using the Bible is miles higher than any other ancient text. Secularists ask the impossible of the Bible, while taking Caesar or Josephus or even Homer as “gospel”.

Also don’t dare try to use a personal experience or even mention an emotion or you will be lambasted. But when the same accuser launches into a speech about how mean God is for pain in the world, what is he appealing to? That’s right emotion.

The secular world likes to take Christianity and poke fun at it and throw blanket statements around about how Christians overuse the word faith. The problem is though, that these same people don’t understand what it is to have faith, but even more glaring is how guilty they are of committing the same intellectual crimes they accuse us of.

For instance if you were to watch a debate between William Lane Craig and any atheist, what you find is not the “rational reasoned and open minded arguments” that Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, or the late Christopher Hitchens claim to use. What you find instead are insults and attacks at red herrings that sound great to college students for a good laughter inducing sound bite, but hold no substance on their own.

It’s easy to get angry and sink to a nasty level, but Christ has called us to live above that. He told us that following Him is no cake walk.

“Take up your cross and follow me” not “Sit in your recliner and watch it unfold”

Embrace the culture in love. Dislike the double standard, but rise above it.

What double standards do you see?

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Theater Fire

Blackstone

At the time, Harry Blackstone was considered the world’s greatest magician.  To this day, his legacy lives on not only through his extended family in the business, but through his legendary effects like the one seen above. Blackstone was also one of the few magicians able to bridge the gap from the vaudeville stage to the tv camera.

However to an audience full of people in Decatur, Illinois in 1942, he not only became the greatest illusionist of the time, but saved their lives as well.

Blackstone got word that the theater had caught fire midway through the act. As you and I know the one counter to freedom of speech that people always mention is, “Yelling fire in a crowded theater.” Knowing the pandemonium and danger that this would have caused had he stopped the show to tell the audience, Blackstone came up with a plan on the spot.

He told the audience that the conclusion to his show was something brand new that. Something no one had ever seen before. He said that it was so large that it must be viewed from outside the theater. The people in the audience naturally excited to see something like this, filed out of the room in a neat and orderly fashion row by row, at Blackstone’s instruction. No one tripped or trampled like they would had they known it was a fire.

Platform

Blackstone used his platform and his position to save hundreds of lives that day.

If you think about that, what influence do you have that people heed your advice? Perhaps at work or school? Do you just relay information when it comes to the Gospel, or do you invest your talents and your platform wisely into a unique way that causes people to stop and really listen to what you have to say?

The Gospel speaks for itself. The Spirit is the one who changes, but if we just throw the message out there like a ton of bricks, people are going to want to run. They aren’t going to care if they aren’t engaged. This is a sad but true fact of our entitlement and instant gratification culture.

Use your gifts and abilities to reach people today. That may be music, speaking, athletics, the list goes on and one. It may be something that doesn’t appear to be a gift at all. Use whatever God has blessed you with to reach others for him. The focus is on Christ, the goal is to bring him glory through our gifts and abilities. Start today. Don’t be afraid to use what God has given you for him.

 

What gifts do you have?

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Broken

How many times have you had that feeling? Maybe you feel less than useful, or worthless? You look around at the rest of the world and they seem to be happy, but you are sitting in brokenness.

The beautiful thing about being broken though is letting God put the pieces back in the way he planned on. God’s plan for you is so incredible that if you just listen to him, it will be like you were never broken to start with. We despair and think there is no way that our situation can get any darker, until we let go and let God do amazing things.

The most evident way to see God is when we allow ourselves to get out of the way and see the amazing things he can do, but sometimes it takes us being broken to do that, but hold on. It’s always darkest before the dawn, and Joy comes in the morning.

 

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Great Scam Revealed

You can’t win

This is a classic example of one of the oldest scams around.  The idea is seen in many forms from cups and balls to nutshells and peas to three cards.  The idea never changes though.  The person controlling the items makes it seem as if you have a chance to win, but you don’t.

The idea is the same with any deception. You feel like you are doing right. You feel on top of the world, until the rug is pulled out from under you.  Your walk with Christ can be the same way.  If we take our eyes off of Jesus, we begin to fall. We begin to put our faith and trust in other things that will guarantee us failure. Satan would like nothing more than for you to feel like you are on top of the world only to be completely away from God.

Justified?

This is sad, but this is how Christians wake up one day and can all of the sudden “justify” leaving or cheating on their spouse. The same way that any sin can be justified. We believe that it’s right, we believe that if it feels right than it must be right. That is a very dangerous mindset that only leads to bad.

Proverbs 14:12

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Wise words.

Don’t be fooled, keep your eyes on truth. The truth of Jesus Christ as mentioned in Hebrews 12.

How have you been fooled?

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Choices

Real

You climb out the window safe and sound, maybe a few bruises or scratches, but other than that you are just fine.

It’s no joke that the choices you make today will affect you for the rest of your life. It’s not just about making choices between where you will go to college, or if you will study hard or who you will hang out with.

…Because on the other side of street from where you just climbed out of your car, there sits the end of an entire families world. The idea of drunk driving looks so glorified in movies and tv, but truth be told when you make a choice like that, you are basically saying that your “night of fun” is more important than anyone else’s life.

I’m not trying to scare you, I’m just being real.

It’s not just about drunk driving.  We talk about the fact that “It’s my life and my choices and it doesn’t affect anyone else.” That’s the problem with our world.  We have this me-centric view about everything that we don’t even take time to stop and think how our choices can affect others. Drugs, alcohol, sex, all of these choices can seem totally harmless, but the consequences can change your life or the lives of complete strangers.

Longer Term…

Put that on its side for just a second. Not only do those choices affect your life, but when it all comes down to it, there is really only one choice that carries the most weight of anything. It’s the choice between Christ and the world.  Jesus came to this earth and died for us so that we can be forgiven for the choices that we have made. We tend to think that no one loves us in this world, but God loves you so much that he sent his son Jesus to die and rise from the dead because he loves you. No other reason.  You are joy when it comes to Christ according to Hebrews 12.

This is the greatest choice you can make in your life. Not only will it change your life, but it changes eternity.

Understand something very important. The choices you make affect you and perhaps others for the rest of your life. Take a second today to make good choices.  Tell others about the freedom that’s in Christ, and the choice they have to follow him.

What choices have you made?

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What’s Does Greatness Take?

Gold

When she landed that last move in her routine, Gabby Douglas knew she would be taking home the gold in gymnastics from the London Olympics. You could see the confidence beaming from her face as she graciously waited for her scores. After receiving the medal though, she made a statement that defined her.  She said,

I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win win situation. The glory goes up to Him, and all the blessings fall down on me.

But I’m just a kid…

One of the things that I hear a lot about is, “how can I make an impact if I’m only a teenager?” Our culture has perpetuated a mindset of continued adolescence and the helplessness of teens to think and make decisions on their own. Paul clearly dispels this notion in 1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

I think Gabby really exemplifies this verse at age 16. You can do the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you are 6 or 60, God can use you if you are willing to give him your everything. A few blogs back I mentioned how the boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fish didn’t hold back from Jesus, but gave him his everything, and thousands were blessed because of it. You may think that there is no way to make an impact, but there is.  You can start today.

It’s Up to You

It starts with your heart. With your attitude. To some, you may be the only encounter anyone ever has with a Christian. They can very well make up their minds about what a Christian is based solely on your life. Now that’s not necessarily the most fair thing, but it’s reality.  Which is why at all times, we have to be wiling to give God our everything and hold nothing back. We have to shine in all situations so bright that people notice that there is something different about us. Matthew 5:14, Jesus says you are the light of the world. That’s no joke.  This world is full of darkness. Your schools are full of darkness, and if you wait for someone else to shine, then you better be prepared to wait a long time.

It’s up to you. What are people going to think about Jesus based on your life? The time is now. You have to be willing to give God 100% and hold nothing back if you want to change this world.  The world needs what you have, the world needs Jesus. You have the cure, why would you hold it back from a dying world?

Purpose in your Heart

Maker the choice today like Daniel. He was young a teen, when he made up his mind and purposed in his heart that he wouldn’t defile himself with what the world had to offer.

Make that purpose in your heart today to shine, and to use your platform whether that’s school, sports, Facebook, or whatever to tell the world about Jesus.

What’s holding you back?

What is your platform?

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How to Sneak in a Workout in the Church Office Part 2

Time for round 2

Hopefully you got a chance to put my routine from Part 1 into action this past week.  There is no gym membership required, and you don’t have to drive to the gym after a long day of work. Just grab a few copies of a systematic theology textbook, and you can get ripped from just lifting them…

Recap of the Basis

Sometimes it’s easier to just let the idea of working out go.  Why am I even mentioning this on the blog? Our body is a temple.  We are to give God our everything not just spiritually, but physically as well.  I really believe that God wants us to be in good shape and honor him with our bodies.  The problem is though, it’s truly hard to find time for a good workout that is both effective and time manageable.  Which is why I have developed the following two day split that you can do in your church office during lunch.

Obviously diet plays a heavy part, but let’s focus on what you can do in your church office or hotel room today to build lean and strong muscles, while burning fat.

The idea of this plan is to have zero equipment, at max a kettle ball or two dumbbells, and a chin-up bar that can be easily stowed in your office or luggage.

Day 2. Shoulders-Biceps-Triceps

Before we dive in, let’s face it the Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps are the three muscle areas that really give that “built” look.  Truthfully you can never have too big of shoulders, but biceps and triceps you want a lean but cut look that shows  dense angular muscles. All of what I’m about to teach can be done in the office or hotel room.

Shoulders

Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite blogs on building shoulders with just body weight.

http://www.kinobody.com/1936/handstand-pushup-progressions/#more-1936

Biceps-

This set of exercises also makes use of the extremely versatile portable chin up doorway bar  that I mentioned last blog.

Bicep Ladder-3 Progressions till failure.

Easy but great exercise using your own body weight to build muscle (one of my favorite and most effective ways to make gains)

You are going to put a chair in front of your Chin up bar.  Place your feet onto the chair at such an angle that you are nearly parallel to the ground (or as close as possible) grab the inner bars that are perpendicular to the chin up bar and begin to curl your biceps lifting your body to the bar.  Do this until you can’t do another rep, then change your angle to make it easier, and repeat until you are almost vertical.

Here is a video tutorial that shows a little more clearly what to do.  http://www.muscleandfitness.com/videos/mf-raw/raw-training/mf-raw-43-biceps-ladder

Kettle ball or Dumbbell curls. 5 sets 8-10 reps

For starters I recommend about 20 lbs, but do whatever feels good for you, but works you at the same time.
Sit on the edge of your office chair or desk and alternate curls slowly and controlled one at a time.  Make sure you don’t swing them or use momentum, but let the muscle do all of the work.

Triceps-

A lot of people like to ignore the triceps (because they are harder to show when you flex I guess) They are the larger part of your arm muscles and boost the look of your biceps and shoulders all around.

Dips- 5 sets 15-20 reps

Position your chair a few feet from your desk and place your feet on it.  Put your hands down flat about shoulder length apart on onto the flat surface of your desk or hotel bed. let your body sink down making your elbows a 90 degree angle, and then push yourself back up. Again the idea is slow and controlled not bouncy. Change the angle to get the maximum burn.

One arm Triceps Extension 5 sets-8-10 reps

Take your 25 lb kettle ball or dumbbell and hold it straight up above your head in one hand.  Bend at the elbow until the weight touches your back and push the weight back up.  Do with both arms alternating.

I promise you you will build muscle and get strong if you follow this.

Tomorrow wraps up this blog arc with cardio.  Stay tuned and go work out!

What holds you back from working out?

Which of these seems to be the most taxing to you?

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How to Get Ripped in the Church Office

Time is the Main Issue

Let’s face it being in an office or in my case in hotels around the country that don’t often have a great gym, can really put a damper on your workout routine.  It would be easy to drive the extra miles to a gym during the time that you don’t have during your packed and busy day, and work out there…right?

Basis

Sometimes it’s easier to just let the idea of working out go.  Why am I even mentioning this on the blog? Our body is a temple.  We are to give God our everything not just spiritually, but physically as well.  I really believe that God wants us to be in good shape and honor him with our bodies.  The problem is though, it’s truly hard to find time for a good workout that is both effective and time manageable.  Which is why I have developed the following two day split that you can do in your church office during lunch.

Obviously diet plays a heavy part, but let’s focus on what you can do in your church office or hotel room today to build lean and strong muscles, while burning fat.

The idea of this plan is to have zero equipment, at max a kettle ball or two dumbbells, and a chin-up bar that can be easily stowed in your office or luggage.

Day 1. Chest-Back-Abs

Chest-

The idea is for quality here not necessarily quantity.  You want to build your chest muscles without developing bloated baggy looking pecs that comes from ridiculous amounts of pushups. So we are going to focus on two exercises that will develop key areas of the chest that will build the right kind of muscle in the right area.

Pushups- 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

The idea is to do them slowly with perfect form. This will build strength as well as dense angular muscles.

Incline Pushups- 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

This may sound a bit redundant being that we just worked pushups, but placing your feet on a surface such as your office desk or hotel bed raises the focus of the exercise to your upper pecs which help shape them better and avoid that “moob” look.

Back-

Hands down the best back exercise are pullups.  If you have the availability to hand one of the portable chin up doorway bar that you can get at Walmart for $20 bucks then by all means do it.

Chin-ups (If bar is available) 5 sets to failure-

First few weeks do as many as you can to failure.  If you can’t do a pull up or chin up, don’t be discouraged you will build into it.  Start by hanging and putting your feet on the floor and assist the lift with your legs however much or little you need to do so.  You will eventually build the strength and be doing pullups unassisted in no time.

Kettle ball or Dumbbell low row. 5 sets 8-10 reps

For starters I recommend about 25 lbs, but do whatever feels good for you, but works you at the same time.
Bend at the waist at about a 45 degree angle while keeping your back straight as a board.  Bend slightly at the knees and pull your weight up to the lower rib cage.  Do it slowly and feel the tug on your lats.

Abs-

You would think that I would instantly recommend sit ups or crunches, but I say no.  Try to stay away from them as they can really strain your back, without very much payoff.

Planks- 5 minutes total however many sets it takes.

Get into pushup position but then drop to your forearms instead of on your hands.  Keep your body straight and hold this position for 1 to 2 minutes.  Do however many sets it takes for 5 minutes.  This strengthens your core and your abs in ways that you couldn’t imagine.  Plus it’s easy on the back!

Leg lifts/Ab-wheel modified 5 sets 10 reps

If you have the pull up bar mentioned above then hang from the bar and slowly lift your legs up to your chest.  If it’s too hard at first then do it with your knees bent.  The idea is to get it to where you are lifting your legs as straight as possible to your chest.  This works the lower abs gut area that we all desperately want to see go away.

Ab Wheel Modified-

If you don’t have the pull up bar then get down on your hands and knees place your hands close together.  You should be about “table-top” distance from your knees with your hands.  Start the set by sliding your hands about 6 inches away from your start.  Hold for 6 seconds and then move 6 inches further and hold.  Do this until you are stretched almost all the way out hold and then reverse and hold.

This is Day one of a two day split.  The next blog will focus on day 2 which is Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps.  Then I will finish it off with the much needed cardio segment.  Enjoy and let me know your thoughts about the routine.

I promise you you will build muscle and get strong if you follow this.

What holds you back from working out?

Which of these seems to be the most taxing to you?

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Danger of Believing a Lie



Counterfeit

The videos above shows the danger in putting your trust in a lie.  On the outside, it seems as if Sylvia Browne is “using her gifts” to help people.  What she is doing however, is misleading and lying to people to swindle them out of their money and emotions.

Sylvia is just a woman who has trained in techniques of hot and cold reading in which she uses in a very skilled way.  Notice the one thing that really sticks out though.  When she is wrong, it’s the other person’s fault.  She isn’t wrong, but the person is.  Notice who Montel sides with.  The woman is clearly wrong, yet they side with her. It’s ridiculous!
In our Christian walk it’s just as easy to get sidetracked into believing a lie.  The only way to tell the difference between truth and deception is to be familiar with the Truth.  When counterfeit detectors learn how to spot fakes, they don’t study myriads of fakes, they study the one real thing. The true $100 bill.  There is no need to study all the countless combinations when you are so familiar with the real thing.

When we are close to Jesus, we can learn to spot the lies that this world has to offer.

What lies do you see everyday from the world?

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