A room full of children quiets as a guest speaker takes the “stage” in front of them. His enthusiastic voice carries across the crowd, and he begins his demonstration. He holds up a piece of rope that he says represents Adam.
“When Adam was born, he was perfect before God,” the man explains. “As sin entered the world, we became separated from God.”
He then cuts the rope into two pieces and shows the crowd.
“That separation was temporarily healed by what Jesus did on the cross,” he says tying the two pieces together. “The tied knot is an example of what Christ did, bringing us back in communion with the father.”
He holds up the pieces of rope that are now tied together.
“Although the knot shows us that there is still sin in our lives, when we get to Heaven, we are made perfect,” the man says sliding his hand down the knotted rope and restoring it to its uncut state. The children are amazed at the magic that has taken place in front of their eyes, and begin ooing and ahing over the entertainer’s demonstration.
“That’s a pretty straightforward magic effect, but when I add the spiritual application the children really enjoy it, and remember what they’ve learned,” said local business owner, Leonard Courtright.
Courtright has been performing these Biblically-based magic tricks since he was a child, and has used his talents to minister to children in cities both in his native Illinois and here in Texas. He believes that these fun, slide-of-hand maneuvers help children grasp concepts that might have been otherwise lost on them.
“When I was a child, my parents would ask me what I learned from the church message. I did that with my own kids, and they wouldn’t remember a thing,” he said. “That’s really my goal with magic—that when parents ask their children what they learned in church, they’ll remember because it’s in their minds differently.”
Courtright began performing his magic skills at birthday parties and other events when he was just a teenager, but really became interested in adding a Biblical message to his shows after attending a Fellowship of Christian Magicians conference in his native Chicago.
“It really introduced the concept of marrying the visual with the Biblical message,” he said. “I really enjoyed that, and have used it as a ministry tool throughout the years.”
It’s Courtright’s goal to eventually perform his show as a service to small churches who don’t have the means to hire guest speakers for their children’s ministry events.
“My vision is to go to these churches and do a vacation Bible school for free,” he said. “It could be here or in the Ukraine—wherever the Lord leads.”
Courtright looks forward to doing extensive mission work when he retires, but for now he uses the opportunities he has as the owner and leader of his business, Allied Siding and Windows, to further the Kingdom in his day-to-day life.
“I live my life and run my business on the principles of my faith,” he said. “We pray before company meetings, we pray over meals with our salespeople, and I pray over every business decision.”
Each day, before he leaves home, Courtright looks over his calendar and prays for each home that he and his salespeople will visit, and for specific wisdom over every situation.
And not only does he believe that prayer is powerful in his business, but he believes what sets Allied apart from other home improvement businesses, is that they treat people the way they should be treated.
“I know that’s an over-simplified phrase, but if you ask anybody at Allied, what do you do when something goes wrong, they will tell you, we make it right,” he said. “We meet over 400 homeowners a month, and things don’t always go according to plan. But we always make it right. Period.”
Courtright said he wants every customer to feel as though they were treated fairly, ethically, and with a servant’s heart. The business owner also wants others in the community to feel served as well. He accomplishes this goal through a program called Allied Cares.
“Every month, we find an organization to support financially,” he said. “We have supported a number of pregnancy centers, Toys for Tots, and the ministry of man named John Downs, who is a chaplain for Harris County jails.”
The business owner said in the past nine years, since he bought Allied, the company has helped more than 30 organizations in the Houston area, and hopes to do more in the coming months and years.
“Not only do we do the right thing for our customers and live out our faith publicly, but we also use our finances to minister as well,” Courtright said. “As a company, we want to support all of the right kinds of things that will bring honor and glory to God.”
For more information, contact Allied Windows at 713-WINDOWS or visit alliedsidingandwindows.com.