Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.

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Midweek Message, September 19, 2018

Distractions

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

You know, cell phones that vibrate on silent mode are not really that silent at all. I say this because it happened in a church meeting not long ago, a cell phone buzzing away on the table in front of me. And then the caller left a voicemail. I am sure of it. I’ll admit it. I am unusually easily distracted and was torn from listening to the chairperson’s report and all my attention was on the cell phone. I thought it was humorous, until I recognized how those little bings and buzzes coming regularly from MY phone distract me even more. “Bing!” A “follow” on social media – I click. And click. And click. No more new news, no more new emails, I’m all caught up. A small, five-minute distraction…or was it fifteen? How much time have I spent with the Lord today? So, I ask, what gets our focus? “What is seen (or heard)” or “the invisible God” as referred to in Col. 1:15? Scriptures teach, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in mortals.” (Psalm 118:8) so let us seek God’s counsel above all and let the silly things the world has to offer fall to the wayside. Lord, help us to avoid the worldly pitfalls that distract us from our faith, and embolden us to daily find intimacy with You. Cliff   CHURCH NEWS: Wednesday Dinner and Study have begun. Sign up now! Women’s Bible Study each Thursday at 10:00. Call June for details. The Pumpkin Patch is coming! Can you help?



Midweek Message, September 12, 2018

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 ESV
 
Hebrews 11 is a great example of the pillars of our faith. It is filled with the stories of faithful men and women who were faithful to God’s leading, many times not even living to see their works bear fruit (Hebrews 11:13). We can read these verses and be amazed at the faith of these people and maybe even dream of how we would respond to God in similar situations. However, God has called us today to have faith just as those in Hebrews 11. Their faith wasn’t limited to one particular instance or event, but it was woven through everything they did. For “without faith it is impossible to please” God. Everything we do in life should be directly linked to our faith in the Faithful One. Do you go to church just because it is what Christians do? Or, do you go to church expecting in faith that God will move in a mighty way? Our Christian disciplines can easily become routine and no longer be a part of our faith in God as they once were. Don’t let reading your Bible, praying, going to church be another thing to check off your list of Christian things to do. Do them with faith, knowing that a loving and powerful God will move in and through you as you do these.
 
Cliff
 
CHURCH NEWS: Please pray for our POV workshop this Saturday and, if you are not attending, sign up for the next one on November 3rd.
 


Midweek Message, September 5, 2018

We all struggle with spiritual discouragement and lethargy.  Some days our circumstances threaten to overwhelm us, and we struggle just to pray.  Many times we just don’t feel like doing the things we know we should.  For one reason or another, God sometimes seems far off and unreachable.

David faced times like these in his life.  The Psalms are filled with verses that express his despair and feeling of abandonment.

Yet the Psalms also give us the key to living victoriously during the dark periods of life.  Let’s take a quick look at Psalm 119:89-95*.

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.  Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.  They stand this day according to Your ordinances…”

My circumstances or feelings have not changed God. God is the same God today as God was when God hung the stars in the sky, led the Israelites through the Red Sea , and fed the five thousand.

 “For all things are Your servants…” 

All things, even the things affecting me right now, are God’s servants.  The circumstance, people, and events around me are all under God.  They are His servants, designed to help and bless me spiritually.

“If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.  I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.”

Recalling God’s faithfulness and control over everything that touches us gives us strength to walk with God even when we feel like giving up in despair.  After all, our feelings and circumstances have not changed God.  God is perfectly capable of sustaining us if we will only let Him.  We simply need to choose to delight in and diligently consider God’s precepts (His principles and character) despite how we feel.  Choosing to delight in God might not be easy.  It might even involve hard work.  But only God can revive and save our soul from spiritual lethargy.

Next time you feel spiritually drained or inadequate, remember that you have a choice.  You can wrap yourself up in excuses and self-pity, or you can choose to draw your strength from an unchanging God.

Cliff

 

CHURCH NEWS:

  • Wednesday dinner and Study resumes on September 12. Sign up now to join us for a great dinner and a new study titled “Origins”.
  • Point Of View discussions will be held on Saturday, September 15, 9am-3:30pm as we begin to discuss the coming conversation on LGBQT issues in the UMC. Sign up to be a part of these important discussions.


Midweek Message, August 29, 2018

While evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it. 2 Timothy 3:13-14

I’ve been saying all along, the Christian life is simple but it is not always easy. The fundamentals of the faith are simple: pray, praise, share, fellowship. But we live in a fallen and deceptive world. The world tries to pull us apart any way it can. People try to bring you down with them to wallow in the mud they’re wallowing in.

Our job is to keep doing what we’ve always been doing, to keep a steady pace and live life. Avoid the distractions and circus clowns around you.

Look straight ahead.
Ignore the sideshows.
Focus on the goal.
 
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:14

Cliff

CHURCH NEWS:

  • Wednesday dinner and Study resumes on September 12. Sign up now to join us for a great dinner and a new study titled “Origins”.
  • Point Of View discussions will be held on Saturday, September 15, 9am-3:30pm as we begin to discuss the coming conversation on LGBQT issues in the UMC. Sign up to be a part of these important discussions.

 



Midweek Message, August 22, 2018

My brothers and sister, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

James 1:2-3

Our Florida Conference Bishop, Ken Carter, recently wrote about the difficult summer we have been through as a people of Christian faith. He mentioned the upcoming February General Conference for United Methodists to address key issues regarding the LGBQT community which has already caused rift and divide in our denomination. He mentioned the latest revelation from the Pope regarding the sexual abuse, even at the high levels of the priesthood, which continues to haunt the Roman Catholic church. He spoke about the removal and continuing allegations against the lead pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church which has been a devastating blow to many evangelical Christians.

It has indeed been a challenging summer for those who take their walk with Christ seriously. Bishop Carter shared this prayer which I hope will speak to all of us:

O God,
You are our judge and our hope.
In Jesus You have come to live among us, full of grace and truth.
 
Give us a faith that has integrity
and a witness that has clarity,
so that all may know You
and Your love, and the abundant life
You have come to give us,
and that Your will may become a reality on earth, as it is in heaven.
 
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Peace,

Cliff



Midweek Message, August 15, 2018

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” John 6:35

The past couple of Sundays we have been looking at John 6 through the sermon teaching with its metaphor of Jesus as the bread of life. Through these weeks of preparation for preaching I have found great comfort in this “I am” saying of Jesus. Knowing Jesus desires us to be spiritually filled by Him is such a blessing. Of course, this “I am” saying has held some challenge for me as well…especially since I have been on a low carb diet and not eating any bread!

This coming Sunday as we complete chapter 6 of John, I hope you will be present as we finish unpacking the unique and complex images John shares through this inspired writing.

Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the bread of life. I hunger for more of You. Teach me. Reveal more of Your Truth to me. I need You! Amen.

Cliff

CHURCH NEWS:

·        Thank you to all who helped provide back to school clothes for the kids at the Homeless Family Shelter last week as well as those who fed the hungry at The Source on Sunday! What a giving, generous people you are!

·        I look forward to being with about a dozen church leaders this Saturday as we learn and worship together at The District Training Event.



Midweek Message, August 8, 2018

Midweek August 8 2018

“When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.” John 21:9–13 (NIV)

I occasionally watch cooking-competition shows. Skilled chefs face various challenges to prove their creativity and ability under all sorts of difficult situations. I enjoy vicarious cooking. I’m fascinated by the techniques I’ve never heard of, ingredients I’ve never tasted and the wild energy of high-tempo chopping.

My mind boggles as chefs describe an sous vide duck breast with a squid ceviche; and my mouth waters as they prepare crème brûlée or sculpt dark-chocolate delicacies. Watching the chefs at work has even inspired me to venture out of my norms and I’ve had surprising success with herb-crusted lamb chops and a chocolate cake made from beets.

As much fun as it would be to sample a meal by one of the skilled chefs on these cooking shows, I’d trade that in a second for the opportunity that the disciples had. How remarkable it must have been to come ashore and have Jesus serve up a fish fry on the beach. He fed them fish and bread, which probably stirred memories of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand.

I haven’t sat along the shore enjoying roasted fish over coals with Jesus, but He is the provider of all that is good in my life, as He was for the disciples. When I pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” I often think of how Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life. I’m hungry for His presence—the daily bread that matters most to my survival.

Peace,

Cliff

 

CHURCH NEWS:

Beachland Elementary teachers and staff need help as they prepare for the school year. Could you help on Wednesday or Thursday? Call Beachland at 772-564-3300.



Midweek Message, August 1, 2018

“The kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15b

I have been reading a book entitled, Canoeing The Mountain by Tod Bolsinger. It is about Christian leadership in this time of great change in culture. He writes, “The culture is changing, the world is changing rapidly, and churches are facing change on an unprecedented scale. Churches and church leaders are becoming increasingly irrelevant, even marginalized. Shared corporate faith is viewed with cynicism at best, downright hostility at worst. The cultural advantage we experienced in the seventeen centuries of Christendom has almost completely dissipated.

But, the church is also at an exciting crossroads. We are entering a new day, new terrain and a new adventure. We are not alone. The Spirit of God goes before us. The mission of Christ will not fail. A day will come when the “kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever.” The next steps are going to be demanding. More than anything, this moment requires those of us in positions of authority (and even those who are not) to embrace an adventure or die mindset, and find the courage, and develop the capacity for a new day. We are heading into uncharted territory and are given the charge to lead a mission where the future is nothing like the past.”

Please pray for our CBTS church leaders to receive wisdom, courage, and discernment as we move into the future.

Cliff



Midweek Message, July 25, 2018

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. – Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

I find that I often allow my mood to control my day and often expect others to have to put up with my negative mood. I was reminded today in a devotion I read that we can overcome our negative mood by a clear focus on God through prayer, reading the Scripture, meditating in God’s word and being thankful to God. When we do this our moods begin to lose their power over us. I am thankful for this lesson today.

I hope you have a day filled with the joy of God’s blessing.

Peace,

Cliff



Midweek Message, July 18, 2018

And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:4 ESV

John was one of Jesus’ closest friends, even called the “beloved disciple.”

He heard Jesus speak, saw him with his own eyes, touched him and spent time physically with him (1 John 1:1-3); but this did not complete his joy. Just knowing Jesus wasn’t enough for him.

Some of us may be wondering why the joy Jesus said we would have (John 15:11, John 16:24) just doesn’t seem present in our life. Could it be because this joy is not intended as a personal well, but an overflowing, communal spring?

John wrote this letter to his Christian brothers and sisters to complete his joy. His joy was complete only when sharing Jesus with others, and the joy he possessed he shared. Some think we only talk of Jesus to non-Christians, and when that’s finished there are weightier matters of the faith to converse with Christians about. But Jesus is the source of our joy.

Have you been talking with other Christians about Jesus lately? Have you shared about what Jesus has done in your life with those who are not Christians? Examine your life and see if your joy isn’t complete because you have not been sharing Jesus with everyone.

Peace,

Cliff




Midweek May 3 2017

Last week I was at a workshop and this poem was shared. I have never been much of a poetry kind of guy, but, these workshops have given me a deeper appreciation for the gift of poetry. This is titled “Evidence” by Mary Oliver:

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood. 

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

 

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

Who think they have the answers.

 

Let me keep company always with those who say

“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,

And bow their heads.
 

Who are those people in your life who say “Look!”, laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads? I hope and pray you have at least a few of them and that you keep their company regularly!

Peace,

Cliff

 

Church News:

  • Imani Milele Children’s Choir from Uganda in concert this Sunday at 3pm.
  • Habitat Build day, Saturday, May 6, 7:30-noon. Call Howard for more info at 772-205-2569.