As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my favorite places to do illusions is at church for the kids in our AWANA program. Over this last year, I've used a number of tricks to illustrate a number of Biblical principles. I thought that a blog post would be a good way to capture those and possibly encourage someone else to use some of these old standards in their church. These are some of my favorites:
Cups and Balls - The balls penetrating the stacked cups is used to represent Scripture memorization. As we memorize verses, they eventually move from our head into our hearts where they change us (Rom 12:2). Balls jumping from cup to cup show how, once verses are memorized, God can bring them to mind when they're most needed. The final loads show us that God can take the little verses that we memorize and use them to do amazing things.
Scotch and Soda - The copper coin represents our sinful selves before we knew Christ. Jesus, represented by the silver coin is holy. When we trust Him for salvation, He covers us and changes us. The quarter that replaces the copper coin shows that we are now forgiven and declared righteous. That the quarter is smaller than the copper coin (it appears to have shrunk) shows that we should be humble and not be as prideful as we were before we came to Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10.
Chinese Linking Rings - I use the rings linking together to show how my grandmother told me the Gospel, then I tell the kids, and then they are supposed to tell others, making a chain of faith. "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" 2 Tim 2:2.
Color Changing Brass Chips - This little gem from Royal Magic is a great buy. After doing the black and white jumping from hand to hand bit, I step right into a Wordless Book presentation. Black represents our sinful nature. White represents God's holiness. Jesus came down as God incarnate and (with the black covering the white, the white turns red) died on the Cross for our sins. When we trust Christ, (with the red covering the black, the black turns green) His blood covers our sins and we receive eternal life. Turning the green over reveals yellow/gold, demonstrating that we will spend eternity in heaven with the King. Turning over the red shows blue, representing the Holy Spirit who, like water, helps to keep us clean from sin. (Rom 6:23).
Double Card Turnover - In this trick, a child takes one half of the deck and then does what you do. You each select a card, look at it, hand it to the other person, and they put it in their half of the deck. The illusionist puts both halves of the deck together, and fans them out on the table. To everyone's surprise, the two cards are face up. I always make sure that my card is the King of Hearts, so I can tell the child that as a Christian they'll often have to against the flow, but as long as they follow the King of Hearts, they will be doing the right thing.
Okito Coin Box - The coins seem to escape a little brass box and pass through the box and my hand into theirs. In the same way, God has provided a way for us to escape and be free from sin, "knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin" Romans 6:6-7.
Coin Matrix - Four cards, four quarters. One card is placed over each coin, and then as the cards are lifted, the coins gather, one at a time, under one card. This is a neat parable about fellowship. Christians want to come together and spend time with each other. Hebrews 10:24-25.
There are others. I've had some flops and busts, too. Last week we had Western Day, and I brought my possibles bag as part of my cowboy getup. I started telling them about how the possibles bag held everything a cowboy needed for shooting, starting a fire, etc. My intention was to ask them what things a Christian should have in his or her possibles bag. In the process of them asking about what I had in my bag, I forgot where I was going and launched right into a poorly chosen trick with a totally unrelated message. I don't know what I was thinking, but just have to trust that the Holy Spirit keeps working even when we become "fools for Christ's sake."