Trinity Lutheran Church will celebrate the beginning of the Advent season on Dec. 5 with a worship service at 7 p.m. 

This is a family-friendly worship service and is intended to provide a time to anticipate and reflect upon Christ’s coming in to the world. 

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Ribbon cutting ceremony officially reopens preschool

St. Anne’s Preschool officially cut the grand reopening ribbon with the Porterville Chamber of Commerce in a ceremony on August 9th. 

Although it has been over two weeks since Al and I were involved in a collision in a supermarket parking lot, several aspects of that accident still amaze us. It is especially amazing that no one was hit directly even though it was busy that day, with people of all ages coming and going, walking every which way. 

Elliot Sachs, our seven year old grandson, just finished his second baseball season, enjoying the sport and learning a great deal. Part of the challenge the coaches had with their young players was in trying to get them to pay attention.  The coaches were constantly reminding the kids where they needed to be standing, to be ready in case the ball was smacked in their direction and where to throw it to get a runner out. 

Elliot Sachs, our seven year old grandson, just finished his second baseball season, enjoying the sport and learning a great deal. Part of the challenge the coaches had with their young players was in trying to get them to pay attention.  The coaches were constantly reminding the kids where they needed to be standing, to be ready in case the ball was smacked in their direction and where to throw it to get a runner out. 

One day while tending his sheep, Moses spotted a burning bush. It was a curious sight because as the fire blazed, the bush was not consumed. 

One day while tending his sheep, Moses spotted a burning bush. It was a curious sight because as the fire blazed, the bush was not consumed. 

Summer is here, providing plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with our grandkids including meals together, sleepovers, walking the dogs and good conversations. One morning after the two youngest grandchildren had spent the night at our house, 8-year old Nate and I had a disagreemen…

From stately old tree to wood chips…that’s what happened to “Old Creaky,” the huge silver maple in our back yard. Our neighbor Andrew, together with his wife Melissa, gave the tree that nickname because they could hear it groaning during windstorms. They worried about the several tree-sized branches leaning out over their property.

The book of Habakkuk is just three or four pages long in most Bibles, but it contains an eternal truth that served as one of the themes of the New Testament books of Galatians, Ephesians and Hebrews: “’The just shall live by his faith’” (Habakkuk 2:4 KJV). 

Mathis, Sigala still top two in local Assembly race

Tulare County voter turnout continues to creep up as the county elections office processes ballots.

As of Friday, turnout was at 33.61 percent based on the county elections office counting 53,218 ballots. The were 161,628 registered voters in the county for the June 5 state primary.

A few years ago at an amusement park, I watched a mother become very exasperated with her five-year-old son. The boy kept whining and complaining until his mother lost patience with him. She seized him by the shoulders, shook him, and snarled, “Look, I brought you here to have a good time! Now you have a good time!” 

As we were traveling along the shore of Lake Michigan last week, I spotted a poster with a familiar saying on the wall of a public restroom: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” A strange place to find inspiration! However those words motivated me to start looking for special moments of wonder when God’s presence seems very near, during our trip from Detroit to Traverse City. 

Now that it is getting warmer here in Michigan, our “Slow Roll” bicycle group has started up again. This is a group of 10-15 people that meet in the parking lot of the local senior center every Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. On most Tuesdays, we make a loop around the neighborhoods bordering the center, about 10 miles at the most.  We have a very capable leader, Myron, who plans the route, informs everyone where we’ll be going and then once on the ride makes sure that the group stays together and is safe. Once a month, we meet at a trailhead on the outskirts of the city. 

I have been called by many names.  When my mother was upset with me she would call me Paul Harrison. I have been called dad, grandpa, PaPa, father, brother, best friend, dear cousin, and a craftsman. Because I like to make things out of wood. 

Psalm 119:15 says  “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

I recently stumbled across a headline that stopped me in my tracks: “Man tries to take selfie with bear, gets mauled to death as friends watch.” 

If “U-R” is not in ch-ch it is incomplete. We cannot have church without “U.” If something is missing maybe it’s because “U-R” not where “U-R” supposed to be. 

After writing last week about the Ford F-150 plant and the innovative spirit of Henry Ford, I was surprised to learn that the entire operation has been forced to stop temporarily. When my sister Jan and her husband, Glenn came to visit us in April, we took a tour of the plant as well as the nearby Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

When my sister and brother-in-law came to visit recently, we spent one whole day at the Ford Rouge F-150 plant and Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Mich. The factory, museum and neighboring Greenfield Village are popular destinations and it was crowded! 

While versions of the holiday existed in the 19th century, the modern Mother’s Day originated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at her church in Grafton, W.Va. Jarvis’s mother, Ann, was a Civil War peace activist who tirelessly nursed Northern and Southern soldiers. (Ann Jarvis had also championed a version of Mother’s Day in the 1800s.) Anna passionately called for America to designate a national holiday that remembered her mom and all mothers.

Last fall, my sister Jan and her husband Glenn had planned to drive out from California for a visit. Due to a number of different factors however, their plans were changed and the trip had to be postponed. They decided to come out during the spring instead, stopping to see Mount Rushmore as well as reconnecting with some of Glenn’s relatives along the way.  

After speaking about God’s forgiveness at a small church in Munich in 1947, Corrie ten Boom saw a balding, heavyset man approaching her. She recognized his face immediately. 

As I was sitting in the ophthalmologist’s office last week waiting to be called in for an appointment, a sign on the wall caught my attention: “Lift the Fog, Clear the Blur.” Fog and blur — those words exactly described my world for the greater part of my life.

The University of North Carolina played the University of Miami in the quarterfinals of the 2011 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. Miami hit the first shot of the game and continued from that point building a huge lead over North Carolina. By early in the second half, Miami led by 19 points.

It’s a sweet sound to hear Bible pages turning when the preacher announces his Scripture text worshipers look it up together. Unfortunately, that sound is increasingly rare today.

On the Friday evening before Easter, Al and I attended a special Good Friday concert in which our daughter, Shanda, was playing her viola. A small orchestra of professional musicians, including the gifted church organist on piano, accompanied the Chancel Choir in offering a beautiful gift to those of us in attendance, a five movement piece called “LUX: The Dawn from on High,” just recently released by composer Dan Forrest. 

I love Max Lucado and I love his  book, “Anxious for Nothing.” Scripture is so clear on the topic of worry, and Max has beautifully, and accessibly, laid out a plan for dealing with the stress that can rule, and ruin our lives.

When our grandson was home sick a few weeks ago, we helped out a bit by spending one afternoon with him. It was a long day for Nate. TV watching was limited, as was time on the computer. His assignment was to rest and get better so that he could get back to school as soon as possible. 

Now that Al and I are living closer to our family, it seems like each day is full and busy, not only with necessary chores, but also with family related activities such as concerts, birthday parties and sports events. In comparison, life in the foothills of the Sierras seemed pretty uneventful, except maybe for an occasional visit from a bear in the middle of the night!

J. Wallace Hamilton once published a sermon entitled, “If a man does not believe, is he to blame?” I’ve always thought that was a good question. Can a person deliberately believe? Isn’t it just a matter of evaluating the evidence and then instinctively responding one way or the other? Who could blame the Jews for not believing Jesus? He didn’t fulfill their preconceived ideas of what the Messiah would be, after all. 

In July 2013, the normally quiet U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., was abuzz with activity. 

Last Thursday a big storm came through our area, leaving behind several inches of heavy, wet snow. The extra weight of the snow created havoc with trees in our neighborhood including one of the huge silver maples in our backyard. 

The purpose behind the Good News! articles every week is to show that God is real, that He loves us, is actively working in our lives and wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. Recently there have been some great examples of this, one at the University of Michigan vs. Iowa basketball game in the Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., another at a local doughnut shop and a third at our gym! Imagine! Of all places for God to work!

Amid all the talk about health care these days, God calls us to take care of our own bodies. I shouldn’t blame the government if I overstuff myself daily with excessive calories and carbs. Insurance companies can’t prevent their clients from careless drinking and driving. Education helps, but teachers and principals can’t monitor every student’s choices about drugs and sex. 

Feb. 14 was a day of contrasts and conflicting emotions from beginning to end. It was Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day and the date chosen for a basketball game between Michigan and Iowa that we were planning on attending in Ann Arbor. 

I once received a telephone call from a young, enthusiastic Christian. “Quick, I need some verses of Scripture that prove Jesus is God,” he said in a hushed tone. 

Several big storms have been going through the central and eastern parts of the United States lately. Here in Detroit, weather forecasts of heavy snow throughout the night and into the following morning have even caused school to be canceled in many districts. 

Can you think of anyone who was treated more harshly than Jesus Christ? Consider the physical abuse Jesus suffered on our behalf. 

One of my favorite paintings of Christ pictures a little boy with his arms around Jesus’ neck, his tiny face cuddled up to the cheek of Jesus. The youngster has a contented smile on his face. He is obviously delighted to be in the strong, caring arms of Jesus. 

Jan. 28 was our first anniversary of living in Michigan. Even though the year has gone by fast, it still seems like eons ago that Al and I sold our home in California. It was on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 that we packed our suitcases, locked up the empty house, said a final “good-bye” to our neighbors, put the dogs in the back of the car and drove down to the Los Angeles airport. 

Kind words and actions are often hard to come by nowadays. Our neighbor shared recently about a rather shocking experience when she happened to look out her window and saw a stranger walking around behind her house. When she questioned him about being on her property, he answered her very rudely.

People are interested in prayer. A magazine conducted a poll, asking Americans what subject they most wanted to hear about at church. The number one request was how to make prayer more effective. 

Ellen Goodman, a liberal syndicated columnist with the Boston Globe, wrote about America’s conflicting values. She stated, “The problem isn’t that we have a poverty of values. It’s that we have a excessive amount of values in conflict with each other.”

When we were living out in the country, our two dogs loved to take a daily dip in the big pond in the front of the property any time of the year. Swimming kept them fairly clean, except for silt on their feet...but then they were outdoors dogs. Who cared about silt?

Several weeks before the cold weather descended upon Michigan, there were signs of preparations being made. Squirrels scurried around the neighborhood, stockpiling seeds from pine cones and whatever else they could find. Their red, black and brown fur coats seemed thick and warm, adequate protection against frost and snow.

In Matthew 15:3-9 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in daily tasks, trying to organize things or in just surviving when our world is spinning out of control that we fail to see God’s miracles among us. My eyes were opened to one of those miracles last Sunday. 

“Silent Night” remains one of the most beloved of the traditional Christmas carols. The words, the tune, the message are all so simple yet so unforgettable (which is true of the Christmas message itself). The picture of the Christ child sleeping “in heavenly peace” amid less than ideal surroundings is one that beckons us during a season when crowds and commotion are all too common.

The tradition of lighting candles on a Christmas Advent wreath was not followed in the church my family attended. It wasn’t until much later that I learned about this custom observed in many denominations during the four weeks preceding Christmas. In our small, hometown church, candles were lit on the altar by acolytes before the Sunday morning worship service. They were also used each year at the end of the Christmas Eve service. 

This can be an extremely busy time of year, with lots of demands on time and loads of stress.