Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Archive for January, 2013

Apologetics Tuesday: Embarrassing Testimony Part 2

So it’s been a short break from Apologetics Tuesday, but I wanted to make a short addition to the last entry about embarrassing testimony. The reason I even thought to add this today is because last night after the show I met a girl who was a Messianic Jew who took exception to something I said in the show.

In the show I mention that the idea of a dying Messiah is completely and totally non Jewish. Through the literature, it’s clear they were looking for a Davidic King Messiah, or a priest in the order Aaron to come and bring sweeping reforms to the Roman rule that they were under. They also held a belief that there was no resurrection of the dead before the general resurrection at the end of the earth. That’s why when Jesus who was supposed to be the Messiah died, it put a pretty embarrassing detail that the disciples had to deal with on their shoulders. If Jesus was dead, how could he be the real messiah? However Jesus vindicated His claim of Messiah and of being God when He rose from the dead. If you were going to make up a story about a Messiah, then you would never have him die. Secondly you wouldn’t come to adopt a belief so incredibly un Jewish that He had risen the dead before the general resurrection, unless something happened that truly changed your mind i.e. He rose from the dead.

Her main point was to show that I was wrong for making that claim about the Jews not believing in a dying and resurrecting messiah because even though there was no literature showing that Jews in the 1st century believed this, that they actually believed it. The problem with this idea though is that there is no literature showing this. Even Jesus’ closest disciples didn’t expect Him to die. Paul and the other disciples go back to the scriptures after the Resurrection to see how wrong they were.

So again these embarrassing and somewhat bizarre details actually historically lend credibility to the narrative that Jesus Rose from the dead.


Insane Card Trick

So here is a video of one of my absolute favorite card tricks of all time. Check it out, and visit the new subscription page at

Is the Idea of Sin Outdated?

Political Correctness…

…rules the culture we live in. Any opinion you have can easily be called offensive by someone else. The word tolerance has had a drastic redefinition by those wanting to harness your opinions. Used to the word meant that you clearly disagreed with something, yet “tolerated” a viewpoint that wasn’t your own. Today tolerance means that if you don’t agree with a certain view you are hateful and intolerant.


A lot of this attention is aimed at Christians and our goal to be more like Christ and be less like this sinful world. But there is the word, sin. That’s the one that sets the internet ablaze by armchair atheists looking for an emotional axe to grind to support their chip laden shoulder against God. They begin to quote verses (albeit very out of any historical or even sequential context) like they were Sunday school teachers. Verses about stoning your neighbor for working on the sabbath, or verses about permission to own “slaves”. NOw I’m not going to get into these issues today on this blog, but if you want a quick and awesome¬† read that can help you with some of the most difficult passages in the Old Testament, check out Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster? You will love it!

But back to the buzzword, sin. In this cultural and political landscape should we even be talking about sin anymore? Isn’t that an outdated notion that people came up with to scare their children into being good, like Santa? This is what a relativistic culture would like us to believe. If you are able to denounce the idea of objective morality, then you can basically say that only Hitler, murderers, and rapists, are sinners and everything else is just a matter of opinion. This idea of acting like sin doesn’t exist is an absolute rebellion against a loving God. Ironically the fact that we identify our sinfulness and evil in this world is actually some of the best evidence that God exists, and that we need Him.

Keep it Fluffy Keep-em Coming

The fear comes though from many pastors and youth pastors in the form of, “Well I shouldn’t talk about sin because I don’t want to run anyone off.” To some that notion sounds just fine because hey why would you want to run anyone away from God? This is an absolute red herring. Yes I agree your first step in evangelism shouldn’t be the Westborough Baptist approach, that’s not winning anyone to the kingdom, but what tends to happen is this mindset, “I’ll get them involved wit church and then start to breach the topic of sin and redemption.” Also a great notion that is following Jesus’ own example with the woman at the well. We sometimes forget the fact that Jesus pointed out her sin, but it was after showing compassion and His true nature of Messiah. What happens though is that we take the mindset above, yet we never quite broach the subject of sin. We talk about the love of God, but never His justice. Truthfully though we see the ultimate demonstration of Christ’s love for us while we are sinners, its when we are aware of our sinful nature. Romans 5:8 clearly says this.

If we are spoon-feeding a sugary sweet gospel of, “God loves everybody and wants you to be the best person you can be no matter what situation you’re in now” without a call to change and repentance clearly seen in the apostle’s, John the Baptist’s, and Jesus’ ministry, we are doing students a huge disservice.

Power Over Sin

For it is God who has the power to break the bonds of sin no matter what they are. God in his awesome power can forgive and change any heart willing to follow him. 1 John 1:9 tells us so. Don’t get caught up in the notion of, “they’re born that way, so maybe they can be the best gay Christian, or adulterous, or drug dealing, or partying, or lying Christian they can be.”

God can and will change us, temptation will always be there which is why serious discipleship needs to take place. Matthew 28, the Great Commission doesn’t stop with making disciples and baptizing them, but the last part is the part we stop with too often.

20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.

We have to continually study the word together and learn how to be like Christ more and more everyday. Our first response to this culture should in fact be the unconditional love of Christ, followed by a call to repentance as seen in Christ’s own example.

Have you heard others water down the gospel beyond recognition?

How do you feel about the idea of sin?


No I’m not talking about suggestion in the sense of, “maybe you should try the crab bisque”, but rather in the sense of psychology and dealing with the conscious mind.

A definition of suggestion is

The act of focusing the conscious mind of the subject upon a single dominant idea.

The idea that your brain can be so focused on an idea that it can cause a change in your own physical body or stimuli. Perhaps causing your hands to do something or your mind to forget certain words in an experiment. Here is a simple example that everyone can try that involves your hands and suggestion.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you.

Apologetics Tuesday: Embarrassing Testimony

Empty Tomb


So we have had a short break from our “Can We Trust the New Testament” series because of Christmas and New Years. The last time we looked at the evidence we talked about the idea of certain types of criteria that are examined anytime an ancient source is examined to trust its historicity.

We have already covered early, and enemy attestation, and today we are going to look at embarrassing testimony.


Now this isn’t the type of embarrassing we think of when you do that thing where you’re walking down the sidewalk and do the slight trip only to notice everyone saw it. This type of embarrassment comes from including certain elements in the Gospel narratives that would be considered embarrassing for the writers.

There are two very clear examples of this in the passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark.


First is the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. For the Jews at this time (Which the writer of Mark was) the Sanhedrin (council who tried and sent Jesus to Pilate) basically orchestrated a judicial murder of their Messiah. The sentiment toward the Sanhedrin would have been very negative. So one has to wonder why if Mark was just merely making up the story of Jesus’ resurrection why on earth would he make up a story where a member of the very same council who killed Jesus suddenly does right by Jesus. Giving Jesus his own brand new tomb was an awfully nice gesture, but why would Mark make that up?

That’s why embarrassing testimony is so important, is that it lends credibility to the narrative. Surely if Mark were making this up he would have had someone not on the Sanhedrin give Jesus their tomb.


Even more telling, are Jesus’ first witnesses to His resurrection. The Gospel of Mark shows that a group of women discovered the tomb empty, and were the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. Now in our culture today, nothing would be wrong with this notion at all, and will cause you to overlook this if you aren’t careful. Looking at 1st century story through the lens of the 21st century is anachronistic.

However in the 1st century according to ancient historians including Josephus, the testimony of women meant nothing. Critics try to claim that this isn’t true pointing to events such as the destruction of Masada in which women were used as witnesses, but the problem with this is that they were only used as a witness in this case because they WERE the only witnesses that survived.

Surely if Mark was making up this story, he would have made male disciples the first discoverer’s of the empty tomb. But he didn’t.

In fact what this shows is that the first witnesses to the empty tomb actually were Jesus’ women disciples.

That covers two clear examples of embarrassing testimony in the Gospel account. There are numerous other examples including the disciples doubting Jesus and running away from Him, as well as not realizing what He was telling them.

Next up Eye-witness.

Interactive Mentalism

Check out the first in a series of interactive mentalism videos that you can try right now.

This is an old effect that uses concentration and psychology to completely vanish your chosen card.

Give it a shot and pass it on to your friends.

Update for the New Year

It seems like 2012 just started, in fact I’m pretty sure that I almost wrote a blog last year that said, “it seems like 2011 just started” That’s how fast this year was. God has opened up so many doors over this past year, and we have gotten to work with so many awesome people.

As I write this, I am sitting in Dulles Int. Airport after a crazy week. We started in New Orleans for the kNOw conference at the Baptist Seminary, then out to San Diego for CRU’s SD Winter Conference. Then we flew over to Chantilly, VA for a show at 10:00 pm then immediately packed up and drove 30 minutes to McLean Bible Church to do a show at 2:00 am and 3:00 am for the New Years.

So it’s been a very busy year already.

Pray with us as we continue to minister across the country through mentalism. We are about to kick off the CIY Believe tour, so make sure to follow along for updates.

Thanks for all of your support!