From Your Pastor….March 2018

By Pastor Jennifer Beil

     America is obsessed with happiness. You do not have to take my word for it. Countless articles have been written and studies conducted around this subject and our preoccupation with happiness. Their conclusion?

     We are overly preoccupied with happiness and that is making us less happy. Happiness is on my mind right now because we are in the season of Lent, a season not known for happiness.

     I have also begun to shop for my boys’ Easter baskets and our church’s Easter Jubilee. I have been thinking about the happiness on my kids’ faces when they see their basket and the happiness of kids participating in the Easter Jubilee.

     Happiness is on my mind right now because of the people that I talk with. I hear the problems and worries of those who come for food. I hear the disappointment and anger of those who feel abandoned by family and God. I hear the pain of those who have suffered for years. I hear the longing of those who desire genuine

    Happiness is also on my mind because several people from different circles have recommended The Book of Joy to me. In this book, His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu describe their paths through pain, suffering, violence, and racism to joy. It is an inspiring book and I recommend it to you.

     Aristotle said that happiness came from living a virtuous life. In the 18th century, happiness went from being good to feeling good. Happiness today is about
the absence of pain and suffering. Today, there is an unprecedented level of economic prosperity. We have warm homes, flushing toilets, access to healthcare, and restrictions against child labor. Yet, researchers say we are unhappy. They theorize this is because we have the luxury to focus on our happiness instead of survival. Happiness cannot last. You cannot maintain happiness. You are happy when you watch a loved one open the present you bought them. You are happy as you eat chocolate. You are happy when you sit down for a meal with friends. These things that bring happiness do not last, though. You cannot bask in a single moment forever. The pleasure of chocolate goes away or leaves you with a stomachache. The more we focus on being happy, the more we are aware of the normal things of life that do not bring happiness.

     The better goal is to seek joy. Joy does not depend upon circumstances, it runs deeper. Joy comes from hope. Joy comes from relationships that feed your soul. Joy comes from faith in God. Joy weathers the suffering in this world. Joy is not an emotion, it is an attitude of the heart. Happiness cannot last because you cannot avoid pain and suffering. Joy, though, acknowledges that good can come out of one’s pain and suffering. Think about pregnancy and childbirth. A pregnant woman experiences months of discomfort and pain. The end of pregnancy is often hours
of great pain. Through it all there is great joy as all of the discomfort and pain leads to the birth of her baby.

     How do we cultivate more joy in our lives? Simple things like living generously, being in genuine relationship with others, and focusing less on ourselves and our suffering. The Dalai Lama was exiled from his home in Tibet and lives as a refugee in India. He should be bitter and angry about the injustices done to him. He is not. Instead, he focuses on the many blessings like education and travel that he would not have experience if not for the exile.

     Archbishop Desmond Tutu said about the importance of generosity, “The Dead Sea in the Middle East receives fresh water, but it has no outlet, so it doesn’t pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, and the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that’s why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. In the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.”

     The season of Lent is not known to be a season of great happiness. It is a season of solemnity and acknowledgment of our mortality, sinfulness, and dependence upon God. During Lent we are encouraged to give something up to simplify our lives, removing whatever keeps us from God. We end Lent by going to the cross and remembering the extreme suffering Christ went through to save us.

      On Easter, we rise again, full of great joy and happiness as we remember that out of great suffering comes our salvation, even in the greatest despair and loss there was and is always hope.

      As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Romans I also pray for you:

     May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that
you may overflow with hope by the
power of the Holy Spirit.


For those of you that know the great Reverend Billy Graham died at the age of 99 on February 21, 2018.

Billy Graham preached the message of Christ’s freedom and forgiveness around the world, reaching over 200 million people in more than 185 countries. He lead hundreds of thousands of people to pray to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior. His integrity and wisdom opened doors to offer spiritual support and guidance for United States presidents from Eisenhower to Bush. He was a friend to celebrities, politicians, athletes, and leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono, Muhammad Ali, Johnny Cash, Larry King, and WWII hero and Olympian Louis Zamperini.

Billy Graham was named by Americans as “One of the Ten Most Admired Men in the World,” a record-breaking 59 times with the Gallup poll. He was known through the years as not only a world renowned evangelist, but as a kind, non-judgmental, accepting, and humorous soul.

His message is timeless, powerful, and relevant for today. The phrase, “the Bible says,” resounds throughout his sermons, and the truth he preached for years still transcends all barriers of denominational differences, age, nationality, and culture. It has stood the test of time and generations, pointing millions to Christ.

The Reverend Billy Graham preached God’s Word with conviction and passion for over 60 years. Here are just a few of his words of wisdom.


On Heaven:

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”

“Heaven is full of answers for which nobody ever bothered to ask.”

“God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.”

“The moment we take our last breath on earth, we take our first in heaven.”

On Jesus:

“God proved his love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”

“Christ not only died for all: he died for each.”

“We say to our children, ‘Act like grown-ups,’ but Jesus said to the grown-ups, ‘Be like children.’

“The only hope for enduring peace is Jesus Christ.”

“Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless.”

“The cross shows us the seriousness of our sin—but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God.”


On God’s Will and Purpose for Us:

“The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.”

“God never takes away something from your life without replacing it with something better.”

“Take one day at a time. Today, after all, is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”

“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with


On How to Live with Eyes Fixed on Eternity:

“I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right.”

“There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.”

“If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.”

“The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.”

“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

“Knowing we will be with Christ forever far outweighs our burdens today! Keep your eyes on eternity!”

“World events are moving very rapidly now. I pick up the Bible in one hand, and I pick up the newspaper in the other. And I read almost the same words in the newspaper as I read in the Bible. It’s being fulfilled every day round about us.”


Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.
My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.
Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.
A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.
God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ’I love you.’
I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.
God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.
Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love.
















Jesus’ Anger

     On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone oto carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, 

   “Is it not written:

“‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?

But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to killl him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 

When  evening  came, they went out of the city. 

(Mark 11:15-19 NIV)


What are your feelings about anger? What is your initial reaction to Jesus’ anger? Why?

The money changers and the vendors were taking advantage of the faithful making pilgrimages. Where do you see injustice happening today?

Addressing injustice can be risky. Where and how can you stand up against injustice?



Let Nothing Disturb Thee

    Let Nothing Dismay Thee

      All Things Pass

        God Never Changes

Patience Attains All That It Strives For

He Who Has God

     God Alone Suffices




Burying the Allelulia

As of yesterday, February 14, 2018, ASH WEDNESDAY, we bury the word ALLELULIA, here at St. Timothy, and don’t say it again until Easter. We do not use it at church. We do not use it at home. We let it rest, as it were, during Lent, so that when it reappears on Easter, we may hear it anew. In fact, once it returns on Easter, we give it no rest at all, repeating it again and again, in celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.The omission of alleluia during Lent goes back at least to the fifth century in the western church. The custom of actually bidding it farewell, however, developed in the Middle Ages. Based on the Hebrew word, hallelu yah, meaning “Praise the Lord,” alleluia has been a word of great praise to God in the life of the church and was prominent in early Christian liturgies. Because of the penitential character of the season of  Lent in the Western church, singing or saying the word “alleluia” has historically been suspended during Lent’s forty days. This period of individual and congregational reflection on the quality of our baptismal faith and life suggests that the joyful nature of alleluia is more appropriately reserved for our Easter celebrations when it is given full and jubilant voice.


During the Sundays of Lent, from February 18th through March 18th, worship will look a little different. The biggest change will be the order of service.

The scripture readings and the sermon will be at the end of the service. This upset in our routine shakes us up and causes us to pay attention. More importantly, though, the sermon at the end of the service allows us to go home with God’s Word still on our minds.

(In case you were wondering, we wend with Communion so that we leave fed, forgiven, renewed in Christ.)

Our Gospel readings will be from the Gospel of Mark and will focus on the last week of Christ’s life. We cannot get palms by February 18th for our Palm Sunday. You are encouraged to bring something to wave in the air to celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry.

What would you bring if Jesus came to Portland???

Feb. 18 Palm Sunday
Mark 11:1-11
Bring something to honor and celebrate Jesus’s arrival (instead of palms)– What kind of King is Jesus?

Feb. 25
Mark 11:12-19
Trouble in the temple

March 4
Mark 11:20-13:37
Conflict and More Conflict

March 18
Mark 14:12-71
The Last Supper and Garden of Gethsename

March 25 CANTATA
Mark 15:1-41
The Last Week of Christ from Palm Sunday to Crucifixion

April 1 Easter
Mark 16:1-8


By Pastor Jennifer Beil

Forty days and forty nights. That is the length of Lent. (For those keeping track of actual days, Lent spans 46 days and nights. Sundays are not included because they are a “mini-Easter” and the solemnity of Lent is overshadowed by the joyful triumph of Easter.) Forty days and forty nights. That is a very long time. Forty days and forty nights. What difference can forty days and forty nights really make?

In the Bible, the number forty has great significance. First, larger numbers in the Bible are meant to convey a bigger idea and not an exact count. So, forty would be a really long time and 5000 would be far too many to count. Second, forty denotes suffering. Lastly, forty reminds us of the many times the number has come up in the Bible and its significance for us.

The Hebrew people wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Doubts and fear plagued the Hebrew people . How has your own trust in God faltered in the past??

The first Kings, Saul and David, reigned for forty years. Fear and lack of trust in God resulted in suffering. How have your fears and lack of trust in God resulted in your own suffering??

Jonah declared to Nineveh that God would destroy the great city in forty days. Nineveh did repent and the destruction did not happen. When have you repented and experienced God’s grace??

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for forty days. Every day we face temptations that slowly can whittle away our faith. How has your faith helped resist temptations and doubt??

Jesus lay dead in the toumb for forty hours. For those who followed Jesus this was brokenness, betrayal, grief. Have you ever felt like you have lost everything, even the ground under your feet was slipping away??

What difference can forty make?? Forthe Hebrew people forty years meant learning to truly trust in God. For Jesus forty days in the wilderness led him into the heart of humanity, into our fear and anxiety, our delusions of grandeur, and our doubts. Forty hours conquered sin, hatred, and death. Forty can and does change everything.

On February 14th we begin 40 days and 40 nights of solemnity and deep reflection; forty days and forty nights of fasting and praying; forty days and forty nights of serving and giving up; forty days and forty nights of letting goand drawing closer to God. Lent is forty days. It is a long time to suffer, reflect, and purge. Lent is forty days. It feels like a long time but it is enough time to change you if you will let it.



Thanks to the members for their faith in me and the newly elected members of the chuch council. Your support with prayer, areeing to volunteer for projects, and continuing financial support are appreciated.

We had our retreat/planning meeting on February 3rd. Please feel free to talk to any council member regarding your dreams/concerns. Remember that all members are welcome to monthly meetings as well.


Sherry Willmschen

Council Members for 2018 that were installed on Feb. 4th are:

President– Sherry Willmschen
Vice-President– Candace Olvera
Treasurer– Cathy Henderson
Financial Secretary– Shannon Holley
Secretary– Jean Whitford
Members at Large– Ray Whitford, Ernie Rippe, Pete Timoteo, Karen Ropar, Karen Olomua, and Greta Christensen.

Pray for our council as they bless our ministries here at St. Timothy