Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message, March 14, 2018

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place and was praying there.” Mark 1:35

 The word often means regularly. A lot. Jesus spent a lot of time alone with God. Why? Jesus needed to stay connected to the Father in order to be refreshed and recharged after the pressures of ministry. Knowing His ultimate purpose on earth was to go to the cross for our sins, Jesus also needed strength to continue walking in God’s will.

 Even though our most intense pressures and stress pale in comparison to what Jesus faced at the cross, we also need God’s refreshment, strength and encouragement in the face of life’s daily demands and anxiety. So how do we spend time with God? Where do we start?

  1. Remove Distractions. Silence your cell phone, close your laptop, turn off the TV – and ask God for a desire to know Him.
  2. Be Vulnerable. Pray and pour out your heart to God.
  3. Read God’s Word. God speaks, teaches and encourages us through the Word. If you want to know God, then read the Word.
  4. Join Others. The Bible speaks about the importance of community with other believers through corporate worship and small groups.

Jesus spent a lot of time with God the Father in order to be refreshed and recharged. The more time you spend with God, the more you will understand the power of God’s love that brings joy, fulfillment and purpose to life. So, ask God to help you prioritize time with God today.


  • Wednesday Night Lenten worship tonight at 6:30pm. Linda Petrilla shares her Faith Story.
  • UMW Spiritual Retreat on Saturday. Call the office for more information.
  • Habitat Work day this Saturday!
  • Silence is Golden! Can you help other worshipers stay connected with God by honoring silence during the quiet moments of worship? Please!

Midweek Message, March 7, 2018

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

One of my personal goals for this year is to find more joy in every day. I had five particularly joyous moments last week. Here they are:

1.   Sitting at Waldo’s with a cold beverage, Lisa, and good friends while watching the full moon rise over the ocean and light the water up like a sparkling diamond.

2.   Being greeted with big smiles and hugs from the two kids I mentor at Beachland Elementary.

3.   Having the privilege of sharing communion with Corabell DeWitt, a long -time fiend of the church who is 104 years old and Nora Smith, who helped start our Endowment Fund.

4.   After an 11 hour work day, joining four friends for a dinner birthday party where we laughed our heads off and I stayed out way past my usual bedtime!

5.   Cooking a delicious dinner for my family of a tomato caprice appetizer, parmesan encrusted tripletail fish, sautéed zucchini and yellow squash with chocolate cake for dessert.

I pray that each of you find more joy each day this year as well!



Join us for Midweek Lenten worship on Wednesdays at 6:30pm!

Our next Habitat work day is March 17. Sign up now!

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday: SPRING FORWARD

Band of Brothers is Saturday at 8am, CJ Cannon’s restaurant.

Midweek Message, February 28, 2018

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;

in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Psalm 51:3

Last week, I was walking with a friend on a lovely day complaining about someone with whom I had had an unpleasant encounter. As I reached the height of my righteous indignation, he nudged me and pointed to a beautiful flowering bush in full bloom. I had to laugh at myself because the incident spoke so clearly of how I miss the beauty of the present moment when I get stuck in resentment, when I indulge in nursing a grudge.

After that incident, I realized that as my image of God has been changed, I am more willing to look at my faults. I know that I am being called into greater freedom by a God who loves me, rather than being shamed by a punitive God who delights in pointing out my deficiencies. Looking at our imperfections should not be an exercise in contempt, but a way in which we become more deeply aware of how our wounds keep us from living with compassion and joy.

May the beauty of the present moment not pass you by…





  • John Gunter, a long-time friend of the church has died at age 100. May God give him peace.
  • Wednesday supper, 5:30pm and Lenten Worship, 6:30pm are a great blessing. Join us!

Midweek Message, February 21, 2018

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. Psalm 71:6

I have always felt that birthdays are very important. On our birthdays we celebrate being alive. On our birthdays people can say to us, “Thank you for being!” Birthday presents are signs of our families’ and friends’ joy that we are part of their lives. Little children often look forward to their birthdays for months. Their birthdays are their big days, when they are the center of attention and all their friends come to celebrate.

We should never forget our birthdays or the birthdays of those who are close to us. Birthdays keep us childlike. They remind us that what is important is not what we do or accomplish, not what we have or who we know, but that we are, here and now. On birthdays, let us be grateful for the gift of life.


  • Midweek Lenten Worship, every Wednesday in Lent. June Traylor shares tonight.
  • Trash and Treasure Sale is this Saturday.
  • SERVE Ministry Fair on Sunday in Ratcliff Hall.

Midweek Message, February 14, 2018

These words from Mother Teresa and Henri Nouwen spoke to me on this Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday.

 The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. ~Mother Teresa

When we talk to one another, we often talk about what happened, what we are doing, or what we plan to do. Often we say, “What’s up?” and we encourage one another to share the details of our daily lives. But often we want to hear something else. We want to hear, “I’ve been thinking of you today,” or “I missed you,” or “I wish you were here,” or “I really love you.” It is not always easy to say these words, but such words can deepen our bonds with one another.

Telling someone “I love you” in whatever way is always delivering good news. Nobody will respond by saying, “Well, I knew that already, you don’t have to say it again”! Words of love and affirmation are like bread. We need them each day, over and over. They keep us alive inside. Henri Nouwen



·        Ash Wednesday – Imposition of Ashes from 12-1pm in the sanctuary and at Lenten worship tonight, 6:30pm with Dave Althoff sharing his faith story.

·        The funeral for Vince Laconis will be Thursday, 2pm at CBTS

Midweek Message, February 7, 2018

“Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

In hope of the resurrection I am still saddened to announce the death of two of our CBTS “saints”. Both of these saints were charter members of Christ By The Sea. Dot Lyon (Gene) died on February 5 and Vince Laconis (Anita) died on February 6. Dot’s memorial service will be at 11am on Friday, February 9 at CBTS. Vince’s memorial will be at 2pm on Thursday, February 15 at CBTS. Both will have a reception following in Ratcliff Hall.

Please keep the Lyon and Laconis families in your prayers.



  • Band of Brothers, special guest speaker, 8am, Saturday, Feb 10
  • Broadway Concert, Sunday at 3pm. Join us!
  • Ash Wednesday, Feb 14. Please bring your Palm Crosses from last year to be made into ashes this Sunday.

Midweek Message, January 31, 2018


2 Corinthians 9:7 God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9 offers wonderful guidelines for giving. Give generously. Give willingly and from the heart. Above all, give cheerfully, for in giving we have an opportunity to reflect God’s generosity to us. When we follow these guidelines, our giving will not leave us stressed out but overflowing with gratitude to God.

This passage also reminds us that giving has many forms. Our gifts may be monetary, or they could be things we do for others and for God. Babysitting for a couple at church; mowing the grass for an elderly neighbor; bringing a meal to a sick person-all these are ways we can give. Our obedience-along with our confession of the gospel-brings praise to God.

Giving ourselves in earnest prayer for others may be one of the greatest gifts we can give. May we also daily remember to thank God for his indescribable gift, salvation in Jesus Christ.


Lord God, we offer ourselves to you in gratitude for the indescribable gift of your love to us in Christ. Help us to live out that gratitude daily in the power of your Spirit. Amen.



  • Stewardship Commitment Cards will arrive in your mail this week!
  • Puerto Rico Mission trip informational meeting is February 6, 5:30pm, Church Conference Room.
  • Lenten Wednesday Night Worship begins on February 14. February speakers will be David Althoff, June Traylor, and Ed Danshaw.
  • UMW bakers and soup makers for Trash/Treasure are to pick up soup containers and cake rounds in the kitchen.

Midweek Message, January 24, 2018

Psalm 24:1 says, “[t]he earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”

Everything we have been given is a gift. Everything. This includes the car you’re driving, the house you live in, the job you have and the family you were born into.

The dictionary tells us a steward is “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs.” In the parable of the talents, a man asks three servants to steward his property. Each one responds to this call according to his character. Two servants increase their master’s investment, bringing him greater wealth and honor, and the master rewards them for their faithfulness. But one servant acts foolishly and hides the master’s money. He is rebuked and punished. The little he was entrusted with is taken back, and he is abandoned.

Stewardship takes the idea that everything we have is a gift to its logical conclusion. If all that I am and all that I have is from God, then how should I care for and use it? Psalm 24:1 says, “[t]he earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” Therefore, I ought to consider why God gave me what I have and use it to those ends. We have been given body, knowledge, resources and relationships, not to squander as we wish, but to glorify God.

How do I spend wealth so it honors God? How do I steward friendships? How do I take care of the body God gave me to be His temple? How do I use knowledge and education in the best way possible? We do all of these things by seeking God’s will in every decision, reading his Word and listening to the Holy Spirit. We do this by acting generously and obediently, ethically and morally.


·        Watch your mail for an important letter from the church this week.

·        Join us on Wednesday night for our supper and study. Dr. Bob Tuttle is teaching on The Sermon on The Mount.

·        Women’s Seminar is February 3. Sign up now!

Midweek Message, January 17, 2018

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. has long been a hero of mine. I am thankful for his witness and his courage in a tumultuous time. Dr. King learned some difficult lessons during his short life. The quote above is one of those lessons. If we cannot forgive, it will block our ability to love. Knowing that we all have a bit of “horn and halo” within us helps me to allow failings in myself and others. And, of course, knowing how much I have depended on God’s mercy and forgiveness in my own life aids my tendency to not forgive and to hold unto hurts.

May God continue to grow us in love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.




·        Piano and Violin Concert this Sunday at 3pm. Tickets available in the Church Office or online at our website.

·        Women’s Seminar is February 3. Tickets on sale now.

·        Join us on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm for a superb meal and excellent teaching at 6:15pm on the Sermon on The Mount with Dr. Bob Tuttle.

Midweek Message, January 10, 2018

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

This new year has me in a reflective mood. I know that I am incredibly thankful for these words from Lamentations and the promise our Lord fulfills in them. Each year that passes I learn more and more of what it means to depend upon God’s mercy. So often God’s mercy helps me learn from past mistakes and each year I recognize how much I need God’s great mercy in life’s challenges each and every day.

My baby brother, Paul, turns 52 today. He is what I often call my ten-year younger twin. We look a LOT alike, but he and my son, Matt, are even more similar! While Paul has great responsibility as an ocean-going tug boat captain, he has an infectious joy in his life which I often envy. He smiles quickly and easily; and laughs with a twinkle in his eyes.

One of my resolutions for this year is to seek more JOY in every day. I find I can be far too serious and often go deep into an introvert’s thoughtful escape. Yes, I am an introvert! So, I am asking you to hold me accountable for living a life of JOY in Jesus. After all, with mercies fresh each day and the love of God, family, and friends in my life, I should be smiling all day!

Peace, Love, and Mercy,



·        Church Leader Training is at 5:30 tonight in Ratcliff Hall

·        Band of Brothers, Saturday at 8am, CJ Cannons restaurant

·        Blood Drive this Sunday.

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!




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.