Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message, January 24, 2019

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect Romans 12:1 It’s true that when we get caught up in life, it’s easy to mimic the often selfish and corrupt behaviors of the world around us. But when we genuinely seek to know God and what His Word says about our lives, then over time—even during difficult times—the Holy Spirit changes our thoughts and attitudes to be more like Christ. When the Spirit leads us, our desires become the opposite of the temptations of the world. What once felt like sacrifice becomes a grateful act of self-control. It becomes easier to ignore our selfish wants, lustful desires, and everyday burdens for Christ to bear on our behalf, allowing us to focus on the things in our life that are pleasing to God, leading to a life of purpose. Is this always easy for Christians? No. Do believers and followers of Christ still allow themselves to succumb to the pressures of this world? Yes, far too often. But if we continue to keep the door open for God by intentionally pursuing and applying his Word to our lives, then when we do stumble and fall, we’re not likely to fall as far, and it’s much easier to find our way back onto the path He has laid out for us. Cliff

Midweek Message, January 16, 2019

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:39
As I stood inside the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, I gazed at an exhibit of the travel bag Dr. King had used on his fatal trip to Memphis. Inside the bag were two books. The one on top was entitled Strength to Love. It reminded me of his audacious belief that loving one’s enemies, not violence, held the power to transform society. Was he right? I wondered. Could simply acting in love in the face of hostility really make a difference? Mrs. King was once asked that question after Dr. King’s death. “Let me tell you a story,” she replied. “One January night in 1956 while Martin was away, I sat home with our baby. Suddenly there was a thunderous blast. A bomb had been tossed onto the front porch. The baby and I were unharmed, but an angry crowd of our friends, wanting revenge, had gathered around the house when Martin got home. “It was the first test of his theory,” she continued. “Martin hushed the crowd and said, ‘I want you to go home and put down your weapons. We must meet violence with nonviolence. We must meet hate with love.’” “What happened?” the interviewer asked. “The anger melted and the crowd faded into the night,” she said with a smile. “You see, the power of love is a mighty force.”   Lord, as we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday—and every day—give me the strength to love even when I am wronged. Amen.
CHURCH NEWS: Women’s Seminar is January 26, Sign up now! Join us in marching in the MLK, Jr Parade on January 21. Call the church for more details.

Midweek Message, January 9, 2019

It’s the start of a new year and, as Rev. Gayla mentioned the last Sunday of the year, gyms all across America will see a spike in new memberships.  Why?  New Year’s resolutions.  Nearly every top ten list includes the following resolutions: getting in shape, losing weight, or quitting smoking.  Unfortunately, most of these resolutions don’t last.  Just wait until early February and you’ll have a much easier time finding a parking space at the gym. We can to do the same thing as we follow Jesus.  We can make big promises about the great things we plan to do for Him.  We can try to impress Him with our performance.  In the process we can forget two important facts:

  • God’s love for us is dependent on His grace and not our performance.  Scripture makes this very clear in Romans 5:8- God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • This life is not about what we can do for God, but what God can do in and through us.  God does not need us (see Acts 17:25), but God still desires to use imperfect instruments like us to accomplish God-sized purposes.

As we enter the new year, the question we do not need to be asking is what can I do for God?  The better question is this: What does God desire to accomplish in and through me this year? Cliff CHURCH NEWS: Register now for the Women’s Seminar, January 26, 9:00-12:30pm. Charles Smith funeral: Friday, 11am, CBTS Mary Ellen Seward Memorial, Saturday, 2pm, Strunk Funeral Home. Chancel Choir rehearsal begins this Thursday at 6pm.

Midweek Message, January 2, 2019

New Year Happy New Year! As I write this, I recognize that I am still in a bit of a fog from the anesthesia I received during surgery on Friday. I am learning some lessons about getting older and how healing takes longer! Thank you for your prayers and support for the surgery and my family situation. I greatly appreciate your concern. I am leaning into God’s presence during these days and seek after God’s guidance and healing moment by moment. This is a very busy month here at CBTS as we begin the new year. Please check out our website and newsletter for training times and meeting changes as this month begins. We will move forward under God’s direction and I look forward to a very positive year of sharing God’s love here in our community and beyond. Peace, Cliff CHURCH NEWS:

  • Church Leader Training, January 8, 5:30pm
  • Wednesday Dinner and Enrichment begins, January 9, 5:30 with a study on World Religions: Questions We Ask About Other Faiths.

Midweek Message, December 19, 2018

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The Word by whom all things were made has come as a baby. The Word who is God and was with God from eternity is born in time. The baby Boy held by His parents is the one who holds you and them and all. This Babe who must be fed by His mother is the Lord who opens His hand and feeds all things. This little Child of lowly birth lying in a manger is the almighty God who is bigger than the entire cosmos. God comes to us hidden in the pudgy cheeks and tiny hands of this Child. Count His fingers and toes, see those hands and feet, and know that God chose this humble birth. God chose to be conceived and born like us, only without a human father and sin, that God might be the substitute for every sinful moment of our lives. God chose that those hands and feet would grow and then be pierced by nails, that He might bring us through His death and resurrection to God’s future. God chose to come to our home, that we might be at home in God’s house one day. This is love—God choosing to dwell with us because we need God. There may be days of deep loneliness, heartbreak, or pain, but in Christ Jesus, true God and true man, God is with you in the midst of it all with grace and truth. God loves you dearly. Amen. Cliff

CHURCH NEWS:Christmas Eve worship will be at 3 pm and 5 pm. Don’t miss these meaning-filled times of worship.
Two services begin on January 6. They will be at 8:30 and 11:00 am with Sunday School at 9:45

Midweek Message, December 12, 2018

I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. — Luke 2:10-11  I enjoy the Christmas season. I like the cheerful decorations, spending time with family and friends, and eating Christmas goodies. I also love to sing carols—and, above all, “Joy to the World!” “Joy to the world! The Lord is come,” God’s people announce at Christmastime. Based on Psalm 98, Isaac Watts’s eighteenth-century carol celebrates the coming of Jesus, the Christ. The joy of the Savior’s coming resounds throughout all of creation, even the fields and rocks and hills and plains “repeat the sounding joy.” This is good news for all of God’s world! What’s so good about this news announced each Christmas? Why sing this carol with such exuberance? Watts answers that question in the third stanza, where he declares that Jesus has come to deal with the curse of human sin and rebellion. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus brings the blessing as “far as the curse is found.” In Watts’s hymn, this phrase repeats several times—and for good reason. Released from slavery to sin and the power of death over us, we are now freed to live with joy, to love God and our neighbor, and to cultivate the earth God has given us. So, let’s sing with joy that good news: “Joy to the world! The Lord is come”! Amen! Cliff CHURCH NEWS:

  • Advent Vesper worship, Wednesday, 6:30pm
  • Christmas Cantata, this Saturday, 4:30 and 7:00 performances.
  • Christmas Eve worship, 3:00pm and 5:00pm
  • Thank you to all who provided for gifts given to active duty soldiers and to families throughout our county!

Midweek Message, December 5, 2018

The original Hebrew for “peace” is the word is “shalom”. Shalom means a putting back together. Like pieces of a garment, sewn together to make a whole.  Or puzzle pieces gathered together — found after being lost — to fit together to make a whole. I’ve often found peace by knowing what to do.  Or finding a solution. But, the truth is, not every problem has the solution we hope for. Most of life really is a journey to experience God — when we deeply experience our humanity and our stories. Faith is not given to us to avoid life. Faith is given, so we can hear the Voice who gently whispers, “Come to me, weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28 Perfect peace is experienced when I place my trust in Jesus. He is the One who is putting all the pieces back together again.  Not me. God is putting me back together. Making me whole. Complete. But, I need to let him. Allow Christ to be born in us — in the quiet places where we long for perfect peace. And remember, birth is a messy journey, but it is real. Perfect peace is a Person. Jesus.

I realize that it’s human nature to want editorial control of our lives. But, Advent calls us to stop. To make room for God’s story to take shape in you and me. It is to be able to say, as Mary once did — Let it be to me. Just as you say.

Peace to you, Cliff   CHURCH NEWS: Advent Vespers begin tonight at 6:30 pm Band of Brothers meets Saturday, 8 am, at CJ Cannons Christmas Cantata is December 15, 4:30 and 7:00 pm Christmas Eve worship, 3 pm and 5 pm

Midweek Message, November 28, 2018

This coming Sunday we begin the season of Advent. Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas. (The word “advent” comes from the Latin word that means “coming.” In this Advent season, I will be preaching on the theme of God’s promise of better days for our lives. That is the hope of Advent and Christmas: God has done something in Christ that changes everything. For this Advent we will be looking at Old Testament Scriptures that don’t immediately strike us as relating to Advent season or the Christmas story. The connection, however, is this idea of God’s promises of better days, promises that all eventually find their fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, we look at a promise for better days recorded in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah. I hope to see you in church!





·        Thank you to our team who made the church Thanksgiving dinner so successful!

·        Sign up now to help with our Giving Tree! Information is in the narthex of the sanctuary.

·        Christmas Cantata is December 15, 4:30 and 7:00pm

Midweek Message, November 21, 2018

…giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus. Ephesians 5:20 (NRSV)   We find it so easy to thank God for the flowers, the springtime, the gentle winds, and the good health we enjoy. Very few of us, however, find ourselves thanking God, also, for the storms, the wintertime, the nighttime, and the sickroom experiences along the way. Yet, these latter experiences are likely to have wrapped up within themselves life’s richest blessings. In thanking God for “all things,” have you thought to thank Him, too, for the hard things of life? Fanny Crosby’s greatest blessing came through blindness; John Bunyan’s greatest contribution was made possible by imprisonment; Beethoven’s most sublime compositions were impelled by deafness. The world’s greatest gift, salvation, would never have come except for Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the open grave. Let us search for the hidden blessing of every such experience. Holy One, help me accept life’s storms as rich blessings. Amen. Cliff
CHURCH NEWS: Thanksgiving Dinner at 2pm, Ratcliff Hall. Sign up now! Advent Vesper Worship each Wednesday, begins on December 5 at 6:30pm, sanctuary. Look for “The Giving Tree” beginning soon in the narthex to help a needy child/family

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:
  • Thanksgiving Dinner on November 22 at 2pm. Sign up now!

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.