September 7, 2013

Illusion with a message

The MAZE, a group that uses psychological illusion with a message, will perform for married couples and for the single group at Big Valley Grace Community Church on Sept. 19 and 20.

The MAZE, a group that uses psychological illusion with a message, will perform for married couples and for the single group at Big Valley Grace Community Church on Sept. 19 and 20.

Magicians Jim Munroe, Zak Mirzadeh and Daniel Cullen travel worldwide with their show, which can incorporate card tricks, ‘‘mind reading,’’ and some tricks that appear harmful, such as having an audience member hit a nail into one of their faces.

Their website,, carries only glimpses of the act, which has packed overflow crowds into college campuses and other sites for the past decade. Their website says, ‘‘Whether the team of mystery artists are catching bullets in their teeth, pulling a swallowed string out of their abdomens, or predicting a spectator’s random choice of a number from a phone book, they leave every attendee pondering the question, ‘How can we know what is really true?’”

And that’s the point, said Munroe during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. By showing the audience that what they believe to be true can’t be true, it opens the door for the illusionists to talk about reality and truth. The MAZE mostly takes its show to secular campuses, but also performs for churches.

While evangelical Christians believe the Bible teaches that magic is ungodly, Munroe said he believes God has given him the skill to perform the illusions to open a dialogue to point people to truth and God. A press release said the MAZE ‘‘uses illusion, intuition, psychology, humor, mystery and danger to provoke dialogue and question truths in today’s culture.’’

Munroe also had a life-threatening health scare that he talks about during the show.

The shows will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 for couples and 7 p.m. Sept. 20 for singles at the church, 4040 Tully Road, Modesto. Child care is available for $5 per family, but must be reserved by Sept. 15. Tickets are $10 singles or $20 couples from

For information, call (209) 577-1604.

Other upcoming faith-based events include:


ERNIE HAASE & SIGNATURE SOUND – 7 p.m. Sept. 16, Orangeburg Baptist Church, 313 E. Orangeburg Ave., Modesto. Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Southern gospel quartet in concert. Tickets: $20 or $25 from (800) 965-9324 or

CONCERT, DESSERT – 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20, CrossPoint Community Church, 1301 12th St., Modesto. Artists Steve and Rachel Ragsdale from Southern California and Mike Enos, a local performer who does an Elvis Presley show, will perform. Tickets: $12 on Sundays or from church office. (209) 521-0181.

CONCERT – 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21, Modesto Christian Reformed Church, 2620 College Ave. George Dennehy, a disabled orphan from Romania who was adopted when he was 18 months old by an American couple, plays several instruments with his toes. He will share his music and story in a concert to benefit Bethany Christian Services. He also will participate in the 10 a.m. worship service on Sept. 22 at the church. Offering. (209) 522-5121.


PIONEER CLUBS – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, starting Sept. 11, Centenary United Methodist Church, McHenry and Tokay avenues, Modesto. Nationwide program to help elementary-age children learn about God through Bible stories, Scripture verses and fun activities. $25 for supplies. Space limited; sign up early. (209) 527-5441.

SILVER ROSE ICON – 5:30 p.m. Monday, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Road, Modesto. A Silver Rose icon arrives in Modesto for first time since the program began in 1960 as a project by the Knights of Columbus to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. For more about the rose, visit 551-4973.

YARD SALE – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Holy Family parish, 4212 Dale Road, Modesto. Annual sale features furniture, appliances and household goods. (209) 545-5419.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST — 7-11 a.m. Sept. 21, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto. Breakfast, raffle and kids’ craft table to decorate pancakes. $10 adults, $5 for children ages 3-12, free 2 and under. (209) 522-3267.

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