Saturday, July 16, 2016

Catch Me If You Can

As Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said, "Here is truly an Israelite.
There is nothing false in him."

-- John 1:47

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar in 2016 for his performance in The Revenant. But 15 years earlier, he wowed audiences playing the ultimate impostor, Frank William Abagnale, Jr., in the movie Catch Me If You Can.

Jailed in France, Sweden, Canada and the United States for passing bad checks and other crimes, Abagnale could talk his way out of just about anything. When his ex-girlfriend obtained a business card from an inspector of the US Bureau of Prisons, the conman used it to convince the guards that he was actually a prison inspector. Soon, the fraud was a free man and back on the streets.

One of Abagnale's most famous cons Catch Me If You Caninvolved impersonating an airline pilot. This enabled him to cash bad checks at banks because tellers considered pilots to be credible and respected professionals. And in yet another scam, Abagnale convinced several people that he was a physician!

The FBI eventually caught up with the brazen criminal. Following his release from prison, Abagnale went straight and established Abagnale and Associates, where he today consults for clients--including the US Government--on issues related to forgery, embezzlement and secure documents.

"To look at him, you wouldn't think he could steal a postage stamp," remarked Leonardo DiCaprio after meeting Abagnale. "But he has an almost unconscious way of engaging you with his eyes, with his energy and with his intelligence."

Frank Abagnale's story is both fascinating and disturbing. How could a dime-a-dozen con artist garner so much respect and admiration from so many unsuspecting people? Unfortunately, the same question can be asked any Sunday morning at churches around the world. While smooth-talking individuals aren't there posing as airline pilots or doctors, there are impostor Christ-followers in the building. They know all the right things to say and the groups to attend, and they've often played their illicit role for years because it's what their spouse, family or neighbors expect. These imitators fool just about everyone on Sundays. But it's a far different story the other six days of the week. Their hearts are far from God. But our Creator isn't deceived for a moment.

It's tiring to even imagine, but many people actually prefer wearing the mask of religion rather than being clothed in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. How about you? If you're sick of looking over your shoulder in a Catch Me If You Can existence, you too can go on the straight-and-narrow and have a fresh start in life. It begins with dropping the disguise, asking The Savior to clean you both inside and out--and then living out the power of God's love in authenticity.

"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink," Jesus assures us. "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."

Is it time to let him catch you? After all, he can.

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