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HOPE Church of Raleigh
4911 Green Road
Raleigh NC 27616
USA

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"Check Your Identity"
Malicious cyber intrusion….theft of background investigation records….intrusion…identity theft. My wife had the displeasure of seeing these words recently when she received correspondence from the United Sates Office of Personnel Management (OPM). She was notified that her social security number and other personal information may have been stolen. The letter then outlined that the Federal government is offering comprehensive identity theft protection and monitoring services, at no cost to her. They offered credit monitoring, identity monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services for the next three years. To take advantage of these services, she must enroll using a PIN code at the top of the letter. A website and a phone number were provided if we had any additional questions. Needless to say, it was tense in our home that day.

In today's age, identity theft is real and frightening. I recently read that even chatting with friends and family or sharing information on a social media network can place you at risk for identity theft. Our identity can be misused and stolen by hackers who make it their career to thrive on stealing others' identity. The consequences of identity theft can affect us well into our future. It may affect our ability to purchase a home or car for several years. It can affect our credit – our value, our worth, our ability to live day to day. Recovering our identity may involve law enforcement and attorneys and may require lots of time and money. Clearly, our identity is not cheap or trivial.

God also believes that our identity is not cheap or trivial. What are the requirements to recover our identity with our Savior? Surprisingly, to be right with God doesn't require a human mediator (law enforcement), an effort on our part (hiring attorneys) or money (material goods). In fact, the process doesn't even require time. It can be instantaneous.

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)

We must walk with Him and have faith in His saving grace. This is not an easy task. It requires complete trust and devotion. It means selflessly sacrificing our desires to follow our own instincts and letting go of our need to control our own destiny. It's difficult, but it's the only requirement. It requires practice, prayer, commitment, and knowing Him through His word. But the benefits are limitless. They extend beyond this life into eternity. If we choose to follow Him, here's how He views us:

We are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)
We are His children (John 1:12)
We are His friends (John 15:15)
He will never give up on me (Phil 1:6)
We never need to fear (2 Tim 1:7)
We are blameless (Eph. 1:4)
We are forgiven (Col 1:14)
We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8)
We are victorious (Romans 8:37)
We are co-heirs with Christ (Eph. 2:16)

There is not enough room in this article to list all the ways He views us when we claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Suffice it to say that He lavishly pours His love on us as His adopted children. Did you get that? We are His children. We love our children and would do anything for them. How much more would our Heavenly Father do for us? He accepted ridicule and suffering. He bore human flesh and endured temptations. He left His eternal home and accepted being born into a humble family. The question should be – what didn't He do?
There is one more point that has to be made here. Remember that letter that we received from the OPM. The Acting Director herself issued that letter to us offering a service that would insure, monitor, and restore our identity. But here's the issue – would that really offer us security? Where does our security come from? Does it rest in others who promise or work hard to make sure our identity is safe? In these times, our security can only rest in the One who created us, who came to Earth for us, who died for us, who forgives all the terrible sins we will ever commit. Our security lies in the One who accomplished every necessary task to ensure that our future is with Him. He paid the ultimate price to redeem our identity. As you can see, there are vast differences between the requirements of how we recover our identity on Earth compared to how God redeems us. Aren't you glad that God did all the work for you? If ever you encounter identity theft, think about this – Our Savior ensured our worth for eternity over the course of one afternoon on a cross when He suffered and died for our sins. Our requirement is to believe in that act of grace and trust him. Aren't you glad God sees our identity differently than this world?

Blessings, Sherif Mikhael - Elder, HOPE Church Raleigh
Worship, Grow, & Serve
Monday July 25th
Tuesday July 26th
Wednesday July 20th
Thursday July 21th
Saturday July 23rd
Sunday July 24th
8:15am - Worship Team Practice
9:30am - Worship Service
10:50am - Fellowship
11:10am - Sunday School


7:00pm - NO Worship Team Practice
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7:00pm - Prayer Meeting
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9:00am - Business Incubator



Noteworthy Dates
Now Hiring
Worship Team Leader - Part Time Position
Click HERE for more details.
Friday July 22nd
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Resources
Devotional Readings
Readings for 7/24-7/30
July 24 - 2 Samuel 7
July 25 - 2 Samuel 8
July 26 - 2 Samuel 9
July 27 - 2 Samuel 10
July 28 - 2 Samuel 11
July 29 - 2 Samuel 12
July 30 - 2 Samuel 13
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Adult Sunday School Study
New text box
Sunday, July 31st
The Lord's Army VBS -

Parents of our Recruits
Training will continue on
Sunday, July 31st
Beginning
@
11:10 a.m.
Summer Adult Sunday School
Joy Forrest will finish her wonderful study of "Faith Boosters" this Sunday, July 17th. On the 24th Sandra will lead the adult SS on a discussion on her sermon text. Then starting on the 31st the adults will study:
Ephesians 6: 10 - 18 - The Armor of God
7/31: Belt of Truth & Breastplate of Righteousness
8/7: Shoes of Peace
8/14: Shield of Faith
8/21: Helmet of Salvation
8/28: Sword of the Spirit
9/4: Watch and Pray

This will mirror what the kids are studying so that we, as a church, have a complete teaching on this text. Our prayer is that we, as a church, and individually will have the tools to combat the spiritual warfare of this world.