Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.

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Midweek Message, November 14, 2018

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. — 1 Peter 2:2-3 Peter was obviously writing to new Believers. Babies drink milk because it provides vital nutrients for their tiny system. They cannot handle a full steak dinner. They will work up to the steak dinner but not while they are still in infancy. In fact, as children grow, they become more selective about what they will and won’t eat. Similarly, new Believers cannot possibly handle heady doctrine and teachings. New Believers need simple truths they can cling to. In reality, though, more mature Believers need these simple truths as well. Smart coaches begin each season by going back to the basics of the sport. If you can’t do the basics in your sleep, there’s no use going with advances moves and strategies. The basics is all you really ever need to live a full Christian life. The basics include praying, reading the Bible, fellowshipping with fellow Believers, and sharing your faith. There are of course variations on these basics. We may “master” them, but we need to go back to them often because they provide a good baseline for the Christian life. So, how are you doing with the basics?   Cliff   CHURCH NEWS:

  • 6 Monster Pianos Concert on November 18, 3pm and 7pm. Tickets are still available in the church office or online at: www.cbtsumc.org
  • Thanksgiving Dinner on November 22 at 2pm. Sign up now!


Midweek Message, October 31, 2018

 

This week we celebrate All Saints’ Day as we remember the church members who have died since last All Saints’ Day in worship. One of the great saints of the modern church died last week and I am mourning his passing. Eugene Peterson taught me much through his many books and his interpretation of scripture known as The Message Bible.

 

Eugene Peterson would never have been counted among the mega-church, celebrity spotlight pastors that get lots of attention. What he offered, in his own gentle, faithful, humble way, was a deeply grounded reminder of what it means to be a pastor.

 

He taught that pastors are meant to love people. People like you, who entrust us with a most sacred and profound privilege. You invite us into the holiest and most private journeys of birth, death, brokenness, love, hopelessness, and joy. You place into our hands those moments you dare not entrust anyone else. We stand with you at the graveside. We hold your hand when your grip on life feels weak. We cradle your child into God’s gracious waters of baptism. We call you to the table, to remind you of Christ’s presence and forgiveness. We direct your gaze toward resurrection, when the haze of death fogs your spirit. It is an amazing and awesome privilege.

 

Thank you for allowing me the gift of sharing these moments with you. Thank you for letting me share about one of my heroes and modern-day saints. I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday as we remember many saints of CBTS.

 

Cliff

 

CHURCH NEWS:

·        A memorial service for Pam Gore’s daughter, Cindy Niel, will take place on Tuesday, November 6, 4pm, at 2900 59th Ave, Vero Beach.

·        Our next POV takes place this Saturday, November 3rd. This is the last call for reservations which we need by Thursday. Join us for this very important discussion.



Midweek Message, October 24, 2018

During my preparations for the sermon series and Wednesday study on Prayer, I came across this piece written as a prayer for the Franciscan Order. It spoke to me on the subject of how our relationship with God, through prayer, calls us to action in a world that is so often in pain. A Franciscan Benediction May God bless you with discomfort At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships So that you may live deep within your heart.   May God bless you with anger At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.   May God bless you with tears To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war. So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and To turn their pain into joy.   And may God bless you with enough foolishness To believe that you can make a difference in the world. So that you can do what others claim cannot be done To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor. Amen.   CHURCH NEWS: ·        The Pumpkin Patch is in full swing! Stop by for pumpkins, homemade soups, and baked goods or to volunteer. ·        The Dedication of our newly renovated neighborhood playground is this Saturday at 10:30am. Join us for this fun time with our neighbors. ·        Our next POV (Point Of View) discussion will be on November 3. Sign up now!



Midweek Message, October 17, 2018

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 I love that Jesus taught us to pray. He offers prayers for us and gives us guidelines on how to pray, what to pray for, why to pray, and when to pray. Prayer was a constant in the life of Christ and we are called to make it a constant in our lives. Jesus desired to be in ongoing conversation with God, and so, gives us the model for us to be in prayer as we go throughout our day. It was a lifeline for Jesus and it is for us as well. I know that a constancy of prayer is what has sustained me in the most difficult periods of my life. In fact, I do not believe I would be present here at CBTS without that constancy of prayer and the prayers of others for me during challenging days. So, thank you for your prayers! May we seek after a deeper relationship with God each day as we commune with God moment by moment. Amen.   Cliff   CHURCH NEWS:

  • Pumpkins have arrived. Please sign up to assist at the Pumpkin Patch as we reach out to our neighbors through this outreach ministry.
  • The next POV gathering around the LGBQT issue will be on November 3, 9am-3pm. Please join us for this important discussion.

 



Midweek Message, October 10, 2018

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 Prayer is not a normal part of the life of a person. I hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if they don’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in the person, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again, the life of the Son of God is born within, and that person can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature as we become more closely resembling our Creator and savior. Lord, please continue to re-make me in your image! Cliff CHURCH NEWS: Pumpkins arrive on Friday! Can you help us unload at 4pm? Band of Brothers, Saturday, 8am, CJ Cannon’s. Women’s Book Study, Saturday, 8:30am



Midweek Message, October 3, 2018

In October our church will be focusing on prayer. A sermon series, the Wednesday night study, and our Thursday Women’s study will all center on the topic of prayer. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests….”. There is a strong and powerful relationship between putting on the armor of God (that is to pray in the Spirit) and praying. These two things belong together; in fact, one grows out of the other. It is not enough to put on the armor of God; you must also pray. It is not enough to pray; you must also have put on the armor of God. It is impossible to divide these two. Putting on the armor is essentially something that is done in the realm of your thought life. It is an adjustment of the attitude of your heart. The apostle does not reverse this and say, First pray, and then put on the armor of God. This is what we try to do, and this is why our prayer life is so feeble, so impotent. There is great practical help here if we follow carefully the designated order of Scripture. I think most Christians would confess that they are dissatisfied with their prayer life. They feel it is inadequate and perhaps infrequent. Sometimes we struggle to improve the quality as well as the quantity of our prayer lives. Sometimes we adopt schedules we attempt to maintain or long lists of names and projects and places we try to remember in prayer. In other words, we begin in the wrong place. The place to start is not with the doing, but with the thinking. Prayer follows putting on the armor of God. It is a natural, normal outgrowth. If you take the whole range of Bible teaching on this great subject of prayer, you will find that underlying all the biblical presentation is the idea that prayer is conversation with God. What the apostle is saying is, after you have put on the armor of God, after you have gotten your thinking right, then talk to God about it. Tell God the whole thing. Tell God your reactions, tell God how you feel, describe your relationship to life around you, and ask God for what you need. Forgive me, O Lord, for the way I have looked at prayer as though it were insignificant and optional. Help me to take it seriously. Help me to realize that You have made this my point of contact with You. Teach me to pray. Cliff CHURCH NEWS: New members join this Sunday as a part of World Communion Sunday! The Pumpkin Patch is coming! Sign-up to help today!



Midweek Message, September 26, 2018

“be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32) I hear this a lot in Christian circles… that it’s un-Christlike to not “like” someone. Well that’s a bunch of hogwash. All of us have different personalities, and it is unrealistic that you will “like” everyone, or be in relationship with them. There are four Greek words for love, two used in the Bible specifically: phileo and agape. Now, phileo is a deep friendship type of love. This would be those people you hang with, your best friends, the people you actually like to be around and “click” with. The other type of love is agape. Agape is a willful love, a purposeful love of the heart and the mind, that shows kindness in spite of whether or not you “like” someone. Hence, it’s a stronger love. It was agape love that drove Jesus, not because He liked people or what they did, quite the contrary. He liked a few close friends. He chose willfully to show kindness and mercy to even His enemies, those who profaned Him. It was agape love that kept Him on the cross, so that His enemies could become sons and daughters. We are told, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32) This is agape love, that you willfully show kindness, even when you don’t “like” someone; that you willfully forgive, even when you don’t feel like it. This purposeful agape love, therefore, makes it possible to “love your enemies and do good to those who misuse you” even when you don’t “like” them. If you’re struggling with this today, draw on His strength and His power! Amen. Cliff CHURCH NEWS:

  • United Methodist Women meet on October 3 at noon for a covered dish luncheon. Special guest speaker: Our former pastor, Rev. Dawn Reichard. All women are invited.
  • Sign-up to assist with The Pumpkin Patch. Unloading begins October 12.
  • Choir rehearsal begins October 6.


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 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.