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Summary: What matters most to God is not the offering, but the heart reflected in it.

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Sometimes the titles of news stories are so captivating that I just have to read them. One that caught my attention this week said: “‘World’s Greatest Dad’ Arrested As Predator.” It roused your curiosity too, didn’t it? Here’s the story from Lansing, Michigan:

Attorney General Mike Cox announced today the arrest of Daniel Allen Everett, of Clarkston, Michigan, for using the Internet to arrange a meeting for sex with a minor.

"Today’s arrest is a reminder that a parent can pose a threat to our children," said Cox. "And no matter how "great" a criminal thinks they are, if you intend to harm or solicit children, my office is coming after you."

Attorney General investigators arrested Everett, 33, for chatting online with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl that he met in a chatroom. Everett allegedly engaged in graphic sexual conversation with an undercover agent and propositioned the agent, who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, to meet him for sex.

This afternoon, Everett was arrested in Novi where he is alleged to have appeared to meet the minor for sex. He was arrested wearing a T-shirt with the words, "Worlds Greatest Dad" on the front, a sad reminder that Internet predators come from all walks of life.

The moral of this story is never judge a book by its cover. They guy was obviously a faker. He presented himself as world’s greatest dad when in reality he was Lansing’s slimiest predator, preying upon children. Fakers are dangerous because they can bypass our defenses, get in close, and cause major damage.

Even worse are spiritual fakers. I’ve met a ton of them over the years. Once when I was in line at a polling place to vote, a gentleman in line behind me struck up a conversation. It primarily centered upon his blankety-blank knee and the blankety-blank problems he’d been having with it and probably the blankety-blank doctor who couldn’t fix his blankety-blank knee. Our conversation turned, as it always does with men, to our line of work. When he found out I was a pastor everything changed. His face softened, a halo appeared over his head, his voice became gentle, and he spoke with utter sincerity about his Sunday school class.

Spiritual fakers are dangerous both to themselves and other people. They can spend decades in churches, die and go to hell, while the preacher testifies to their salvation and the congregation nods in agreement at their funeral. Often it doesn’t get that far, though, because spiritual fakers tend to be ring leaders in church controversies and splits. If allowed to worm their way in they will wreak havoc upon an unsuspecting church and when the smoke clears after their departure, the members look around and ask, “What happened?”

Spiritual fakers can destroy trust among believers too. They’ll draw you in with their pretended love of God and man. As you open up and share your life they’ll take it and use it as ammunition against you. I wonder how many of us are afraid to share our hearts because somewhere along the way a spiritual faker trampled it.

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