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SERMON NOTES:

PRAYER REQUESTS
Virginia Schober (Amy Moore Aunt) who is struggling with her eyesight. Pray that she gets good news this week about her retina and potential loss of eyesight. Kiki Houndjago to obtain a living wage job. Akosua Addo to help manage her work load. Janet (Kevin Amundsens sister) has an L3 fracture in her back. Pray for healing. Linda (Heather Butterfields sister) for safety for the baby during pregnancy, and to be close to the Lord. Arlene (Dianne Blacks sister) who had a second back surgery. Pray for healing. Candy Swanson (friend of Nancy & Kevin Amundsen) broke her back and has a long recovery ahead. Pray for Ruthann Coburn as she recovers from a procedure for a serious wound on her leg. Stephanies mom, Judy (co-worker of Heather Butterfield) is getting treatment for cancer and doing better. Regina Shu (Judith Shus mother) as she struggles with diabetic neuropathy affecting her mobility. Amina, a six year old girl who has brain cancer (friend of Michelle Ott). Rose Bih (Sam Atu-Tetuhs wife) as she has high cholesterol and heart problems. Kay Prouty (mother of Pastor Pauls brother-inlaw) who has cancer. Steve Gast (Jennifer Huehns college friend) received new lungs six months ago for his Cystic Fibrosis. Pray for continued recovery. Sarah Womack (Nancy Amundsens daughter) as she searches for a new job. Stephanie (Jerry Hermsens friend) for her health. Beverly Dols (John Ivers sister) as she is in hospice care. Jessica Johnson (Stacy Foremans cousin) has been diagnosed with Lyme's disease. Due to the side effects and the illness symptoms she is unable to work. Joanne Seeman Benick (Jon & Jodi Blacks friend) who has cancer. Julie Fjeld (Jennifer & Mike Huehns neighbor) who lives with cancer. John Thiessen as he lives with cancer. Donna McCullen (wife of Ken McCullen) who is suffering from cancer.

DEVOTION
Jesus taught his followers about forgiveness. This week we have the opportunity to read about forgiveness in the gospel. Enjoy! Comments about the devotion can be e-mailed to pastor@colpres.org. Monday, March 3 Read John 20:19-23 The word forgiveness comes from the Greek word aphiemi which means to release, let go, send away, relinquish, or discharge. (New Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible Vol. 2, page 482) In this short passage Jesus was teaching his disciples about forgiveness. They needed this lesson as they were afraid for their lives. Their fear could easily have turned into rage and violence against the people who killed Jesus. Jesus taught another way. If we think about forgiveness as release, verse 23 becomes even more alive. If you release the sins of any they are released; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. Unless we release the pain that someone else has caused us we are going to walk through our lives being weighed down with a rock. Prayer: Jesus taught his followers to release their pain. Give me the courage to do the same. Tuesday, March 4 Read Matthew 18:15-20 A week ago Pastor Paul talked about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness involves one personthe person who was harmed; reconciliation involves two people. As Lewis Smedes wrote in his book, The Art of Forgiveness Forgiving happens inside the

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wounded person; reunion happens in a relationship between people. (page 27) This story in Matthew shares a process of reconciliation. In the process a person who is wronged approaches the perpetrator and asks the perpetrator to acknowledge their wrong. The goal is for the people to be reunited. This is a powerful process whose end result can change the trajectory of a relationship. For reconciliation to happen both parties have to agree to it. Its important not to confuse the process shared in Matthew 18 with forgiveness. Prayer: Thank you for this process of reconciliation. If I need to be reunited with someone, give me the courage to take a next step. Wednesday, March 5 Read Matthew 18:21-22 How many times do we have to forgive? Peters question is one that weve all asked. The question by itself is the wrong question. By asking the question were putting a limit on forgiveness. Its minimizing the power of forgiveness. Its like asking, how little can I do something in order for it to happen. Jesus wants us to live by forgiveness. He wants us to look forward to forgiving others. Instead of asking how little we can do it, he wants us to imagine how often we can do it. Jesus still did answer Peters question. He said that we should forgive not just seven times but seventy-seven times or as some people translate the passage seventy times seven.

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Jesus was saying that we cant really count the number of time were called to forgive as the number is infinity. How can we count infinity? Prayer: Dont let me fall into the trap of counting how often I need to forgive. Give me the spirit of wanting to forgive. Help me see forgiveness as an opportunity and not a burden. Thursday, March 6 Read Matthew 18:23-35 The point of this parable is very obvious. The person who was forgiven wasnt able to forgive. Its easier for us to forgive when we can acknowledge the grace or forgiveness that God has given to us. Pastor Paul will be preaching about this topic this Sunday, March 9. When we experience grace and know its importance in our own lives, its much easier to share that grace with someone who has hurt us. When we share grace through forgiveness we are paying it forward something that we have received. Not to forgive stops grace from happening. The flow of God comes to an end. Prayer: Help me appreciate and savor the grace that you have given to me. Then let me share that grace with someone who has hurt me. Friday, March 7 Read Luke 6:27-36 This reading from the Sermon on the Plain is a plea from Jesus for forgiveness. He appealed to our own self-interet. What good is it, he said, if you only associate or love the people who love you. Anyone can do that. If you want to be extra-special go outside of your own group of people and love your enemies. Paraphrase of Luke 6:32-35

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Perhaps enemies is a strong word for us. Another way to think about this is love the people who push our buttons. So we could paraphrase this passage to say, What good is it if you only associate or love the people who love you. Anyone can do that. If you want to be extra-special go outside of your own group and love the people who push your buttons. Can you try that today? Prayer: Lord, help me love the people who push my buttons. Saturday, March 8 Read Luke 24:32-38 This is the penultimate story of forgiveness. It forms our own understanding of forgiveness. Even though Jesus was practically naked and dying on the cross he was able to forgive. He forgave people who were mocking him and belittling him. This story is so powerful that some of us might not think we can forgive. Fortunately we dont have to die on a cross in order to forgive others. Our task is to have God help us release the pain someone else has caused us. He shared a process for us this past Sunday. The process is: Step 1 Pray Step 2 Name and identify the pain Step 3 Rediscover the humanity of the person who hurt us. Step 4 Revise our feelings towards the person Forgiveness is certainly not easy. But if we go through this process it is possible for us! Prayer: Give me the confidence that I can forgive. I dont have to be like Jesus who died on the cross and forgave his executioners. Help me see forgiveness as a simple four-step process.