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Change: It’s not a Mission Impossible

Change: It’s not a Mission Impossible
by René A. López

For some a radical life change is a “Mission: Impossible,” especially if their track record reads like a bad grocery list. Mine certainly did: burglary (arrested five times), grand theft, petit theft, theft (three times), loitering, possession of burglary tools, trespassing (three times), defrauding innkeeper (two times), evading transit fare, cocaine possession (two times), forced strong-arm robbery (three times), dealing in stolen property (two times), petit larceny (three times), obstruction of police officer (three times), resisting arrest (two times), battery on a police officer, alcohol violation and four drug rehabilitation programs. All of this occurred in the five years between 1986 and 1991. That was my track record. Not pretty. However, there came a point in my life that I decided to overcome emphasizing excuses, bad examples and addictive experiences.

Emphasizing excuses. I became a master at deceiving myself. I grew up without a father, and members of minority groups, such as I, sometimes have fewer opportunities than others. My mother raised me in a party environment, my parents drank, and my friends drank and did drugs. When I was nineteen, my mom packed my bags and told me to leave. That only added to my list of excuses: mom didn’t love me. Bitterness ruled my life; drugs became my ally. At one point I was homeless and dealing drugs in Miami Beach. I filled my head with all sorts of excuses for why I had turned out that way. Yet a nagging thought pulled at me: If I am smart enough to figure out reasons to fail, can I not also figure out reasons to change? I had no excuse.

A prison sentence of three-and-a-half years gave me enough time to think. Yes, I had grown up with some disadvantages. So what? What family is not dysfunctional to some degree? There is no totally functional family on this side of heaven, since perfect beings that make-up such a family do not exist (Rom 3:10-11, 23). No matter what excuse I put forth, there were always examples of others who had overcome emphasizing excuses. So it was my turn.

Overcoming bad examples. Without a father figure at home, my mother and friends were my role models. On the one hand, my family lived by common ethical principles: do not lie, cheat, or steal. On the other hand, if someone called and someone in my family didn’t want to talk, it was okay to say, “He or she’s not here.” Having free cable from a bootleg box was considered okay since the cable companies are thieves by charging ridiculous prices. If items didn’t get charged at the register, when we discovered it later we considered the amount a bonus. “It was the cashier’s fault.” My club-going friends were no better, not that they were to blame totally. At one point I surpassed them all in mischief, which caused most of them to avoid me.

Then I was introduced to the man who left the biggest imprint in history, Jesus Christ. Could he be my perfect model? Even religious people had let me down. Only when I read the bumper sticker, “Christians are not perfect just forgiven,” did I realize Jesus Christ was the only perfect example (1 Pet 2:21-22). No matter how good people are, they are imperfect. A light came on.

Overcoming addictions. Having spent part of my early life drugging, drinking, and in debaucheries, I had tough experiences to overcome. Yet a friend encouraged me to have patience and said, “If it took you five years to walk into a forest, do not expect to leave in a week.” Thus I began my journey out of the woods.

I quickly learned three key elements to overcoming addictive experiences: parting from the past, having patience, and having a purpose in life. Some define insanity as “repeating the same thing and expecting different results.” I had to quit doing the “same thing.” I needed to make a clean break. At first it seemed hard, but time and patience helped. In the beginning, memories of “good” experiences of my past life tugged at me. I reminded myself that sometimes the mind’s defense mechanism blocks out negative experiences. This encouraged me to be patient.

But having Jesus Christ as the purpose in life was the ultimate key. True, some people change apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. But they don’t change radically without Him.

Now that I had purpose through my relationship with Christ, my “grocery list” began to change—and radically. I earned a B.A. with high honors from Trinity International University where I served as an adjunct faculty member for three years. I earned a Th.M. with honors from Dallas Theological Seminary, where I am currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student. I was on the National Dean’s List twice and also given twice the Outstanding Young Man of America award for professional achievement, superior

ability and exceptional community service. There was also the J. Dwight Pentecost Ph.D. scholarship for Excellence in Bible Exposition. I have also been pastoring for the past eight years.

All these things—wonderful as they are—are garbage compared to the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, who changed me. I share them to show the contrast of what I was before and what God has made of me. The radical change began when I simply believed in Christ’s promise that I could receive eternal life (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 11:25-27).

Perhaps you’re thinking, “I am not nearly as bad as you were.” That is precisely the point. If Jesus can take a person worse than you and change him, how much more can He also do a miracle of radical change in your life?


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"Nice job with it” —Paul Osborne (the Godfather of Illusions and world famous builder)

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“Looks Good" —David Merlin (Illusionist and Builder)

“. . . Magnificent! Great job!” —R. Glenn Searle III

“Nice work, René!” —Joe Lombardi

“It was awesome, so glad we were able to come this time!” —Natalie Yearego

"Thoroughly enjoyed it. Was quite amazed.” —David Dutsch


Dr. López at the GES Conference

Dr. López's GES 2014 conference presentations of the outline and ppts named, "What Does It Mean to Be Elect In Christ in Ephesians 1:4?" and paper "Does Romans 9 Teach Calvinistic Election?" ARE NOW DOWNLOADABLE <click here> (and scroll down and look for the three sources bearing the perspective names).


If you want to listen to the following lecture "Does Romans 9 Teach Calvinistic Election?" then <click here>

Ariel returns from Starkville, Mississippi after a tremendous evangelism outreach illusion show!

Not only did we do three illusion shows with a message Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 6-8), but I also spoke and did various illusions in two chapels with small children and high school students where I also shared God's message of grace and salvation.

I was also invited to speak at a men's meeting where pastors, leaders and men from the community attend. After a wonderful Asian lunch I did an illusion and shared (from John 8:30-33) regarding the distinction between how one is freed from the penalty of sin by simply believing in Jesus and how one can continue to experience that freedom by "abiding" (following) Jesus everyday in discipleship.

Furthermore, I was also invited to be on WCBI a CBS local affiliate of Starkville, MS (click here for a photo gallery - part of that which was taken by one of the camera men—as a favor to me—with my i-phone).

I also taught at Emmanuel Baptist Church Sunday school (by having a Q & A time) preached in worship service.

Thanks for your prayers. Please consider supporting our ministry and partner with us (click here).

(click here for a photo gallery) We're planning for the next shows already. If you have a church that would like to have us come and do an illusion show/program outreach let us know.

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"Ariel the Illusionist" Evangelistic Church Outreach Show


Click here for a new video from a recent "Ariel the Illusionist" Evangelistic Church Outreach Show.

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See videos below from Ariel shows, schools, and parties where the message was spread.









Dr. René López Presents the Gospel

Click on the pic to see Dr. López presenting the Gospel—via three small illusions—at the end of an "Illusions with a Message" show.



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Southern Baptist Texas Convention wrote this month an article piece on us in their magazine, which you can see online:

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Friends and family, I was a guest speaker at the mega-church Christ the Rock Community Church. I spoke four times in two days over the weekend. For those of you interested and would like to hear the half-hour message, see below. May the Lord speak to you through this message.

God Is Able by Dr. René López


Jesus Family Tomb Examined

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Those who enjoy reading mysteries will enjoy this book’s exposure of the real conspiracy involved in Cameron’s “documentary.”


—Craig S. Keener, Ph.D.,

Author of countless books, and

Professor of New Testament

Palmer Seminary



René López gives the Jesus family tomb theory the thorough debunking it so richly deserves. He points out countless errors and lapses in logic on the part Simcha Jacobovici and his associates, who have foisted on a naive public and gullible media a highly implausible scenario. Critical scholars and laity alike are appalled by this travesty. The Jesus Family Tomb Examined will go a long way toward setting the record



—Craig A. Evans, Ph.D.

Payzant Distinguished Professor

of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College



René López’s work skillfully dismantles point

by point the arguments made by these advocates and shows cogently how Jesus’ tomb continues to remain empty, because He rose physically. I wholeheartedly recommend this work.


—Josh D. McDowell

International Author and Speaker