Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message, November 9, 2016

My friend, Rev. Magrey deVega, wrote this beautiful prayer, which I thought we could all use today. So-o-o, this is an early Midweek Message!


O Sovereign God and Lord of All,

With humble gratitude we remember that every good and perfect gift comes from you, including the privilege of living in civic freedom. We know that such blessings are both secured by sacrifice and charged with responsibility. You call us to live in harmony with you and in reconciliation with one another.

We therefore confess to you our penchant toward division, building walls that separate us with rhetorical labels that confine us. We draw circles around those who are in and those who are out, and we inevitably draw those circles around ourselves. Through our words and even our mere perceptions, we have nurtured a political climate that has demonized others, poisoned our air and stifled the work of your Spirit within us. Empower us to reach across those divides, to see those with whom we disagree as fellow sojourners, that we might see your image within all people.

In the midst of such fearful and anxious times, we confess that we have projected onto our politicians a type of salvific power they were never meant to yield. We have turned to our leaders, our governments, our military might, and our economic capability for a kind of security, provision, and happiness that only you can provide. Remind us that our best future, in the words of the Psalmist, is not to trust in chariots and horses, but to trust in the name of the Lord our God.

We ask your blessing upon all those who will be elected. May their power be defined by a compassion and generosity that comes from humility. Fill them with wisdom born from curiosity and an openness to a diversity of people and ideas. Renew their commitment to a sense of justice shaped by love, that they might model the call of the prophet Micah: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. And may you use the offices that they hold and the influence that they carry to bring about your kingdom on earth, as it has already been fulfilled in heaven.

Loving God, we thank you for the privilege of living in a free democracy, where we can exercise the right to vote and help determine our nation’s future. May the proceedings of this Tuesday’s election, and the consequences of its results, be conducted in a way suitable to an ordered and civil society, and may we join together in mutual respect for the perfection of our union.

May we, your church, strive in all things to be united as your body, that we may be an agent of healing for a bitterly divided time. May we be makers of peace, that the fruit of our witness may draw people to you, who is our truest and best source of life, liberty, and happiness in all its pursuits.

We are grateful to be your people, equal in your eyes, citizens of your kingdom, and residents of this country.

In the name of Christ we pray, Amen.


·         Operation Christmas Child boxes deadline is Sunday.

·         We still need assistance for feeding at The Source this coming Sunday.

Midweek Message, November 2, 2016

All Saints’ Sunday is a time for remembering, remembering those who are no longer here physically whom we loved, who loved us, who taught us about Jesus, who were beloved family and friends.  Names come to your mind, don’t they?  Mrs. Davidson and Rev. and Mrs. Rooks come to my mind. Mrs. Davidson led the very first Bible Study I ever attended when I was a teenager. Rev. and Mrs. Rooks taught my Sunday School class when I was a college student in Gainesville (Go Gators!). I have had the blessing of many other “saints” along the way who have taught and nurtured my faith. I am most grateful.


As a follower of Jesus, I also come to this All Saints’ weekend with Jesus’ call to us to remember – to remember His “bread and cup” of holy communion, His words that He says are a true and solid foundation for life and living.  I want always to remember them, and I want always to live by them, even when they make me uncomfortable in their challenge to greater obedience.


All Saints’ Sunday – a time for remembering.





·        Thank you to Dave and Kathie Althoff and all the Pumpkin Patch volunteers! It was a great success!

·        The Dueling Brothers Concert is coming! November 20. Tickets available after worship, online at CBTSUMC.COM or in the church office.

Midweek Message, October 26, 2016

The great theologian and pastor, Henri Nouwen wrote these words, which I hope you will hear with an open heart:

Loving the Church often seems close to impossible. Still, we must keep reminding ourselves that all people in the Church – whether powerful or powerless, conservative or progressive, tolerant or fanatic – belong to that long line of witnesses moving through this valley of tears, singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, listening to the voice of their Lord, and eating together from the bread that keeps multiplying as it is shared. When we remember that, we may be able to say, “I love the Church, and I am glad to belong to it.”

Loving the Church is our sacred duty. Without a true love for the Church, we cannot live in it in joy and peace. And without a true love for the Church, we cannot call people to it.

May we seek to love the church, so that we are better able to call people to the church and to Jesus.



·        The Pumpkin Patch continues through Saturday. Join us in helping out!

·        The memorial service for Betty Wolfe will be on November 19 at 11:00am in the sanctuary, followed by a reception in Ratcliff Hall.

Midweek Message, October 19, 2016

Midweek October 19 2016

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:22)

This scripture is a prelude to the sermon this Sunday on the phrase: “God helps those who help themselves.” This scripture is a serious command. God is insisting that farmers intentionally leave part of their crop on their property unharvested. This portion was to be left for those who were not able to make ends meet or for strangers in the community. The command involves compassion and charity, but also the dignity of work: the poor could harvest a portion for themselves. It also recognizes that God is the ultimate source of wealth and property. God is making clear that leaving part of the field unharvested is a portion of God’s strategy to make sure people who are struggling have enough.

While fewer of us are farmers today, we can still reserve a portion of our income to assist those in need. That is what the financial tithe is about: reserving a portion of your income to further God’s Kingdom work.




  1. Please return the Church Survey by October 30. Your input is important.
  2. Pumpkin Patch volunteers are still needed. See Kathie Althoff to sign up.

Midweek Message, October 12, 2016

Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. (Psalm 113:2-3)

I am thankful for the ability to praise God in all times. Whether it be in times of sunshine and good health or times of stormy weather and illness. The psalmist tells us that God is to be praised whatever our circumstance. While it is surely easier to praise God in good times, I have found that I tend to grow more deeply on a spiritual level during times of struggle. Let us praise God in all times!



The Pumpkin Patch is here! Please help us unload pumpkins on Thursday at 4pm. You can sign up to assist with the patch at the Connection Point.

Funeral Service for Vee LaBerge will be here at 11:00am, Monday, October 17th. Reception to follow in Ratcliff Hall.

Midweek Message, October 5, 2016

God Is With Us…Even In The Storm
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:5

Yesterday’s Upper Room had this as the key verse for the daily devotion. As this major hurricane approaches, I hope you will cling to this word from God. Even in the midst of the storm God will be with us. Whether the storm be a hurricane, the death of a family member, the sting of divorce, the betrayal of a friend, or the loss of income….God is with you! Hold on to that great promise of God.


  • Due to the impending storm all church activities have been cancelled for Thursday and Friday. Wednesday night dinner is also cancelled, along with the Five Marks of a Methodist Study. The Class Meeting course will meet.
  • Please call me if you need assistance with storm preparation. 772-205-7020.

Midweek Message, September 28, 2016

Jesus is the Blessed One. When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River a voice came from heaven saying:

“You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you” (Mark 1:11). This was the blessing that sustained Jesus during his life. Whatever happened to him – praise or blame – he clung to his blessing; he always remembered that he was the favorite child of God.

All of us who have baptized are also blessed. We are blessed by God to be a blessing to others. I hope each of you are seeking ways to bless others every day. I am looking forward to hearing your stories of how you shared a blessing this week.




  • The Pumpkin Patch is coming! Sign-up at the Connection Point or call the office to volunteer.
  • So far over $2300 has come in for our “Do Good Challenge”. That is about 8 kids we can assist for a year through our Haiti ministry.

Midweek Message, September 21, 2016

Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer be a reproach”… So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to do this good work.—Nehemiah 2:17-18

As a servant of Jesus Christ, you have a purpose for living. And you can make a difference in your community, church, and world… especially when you work in partnership with others. 

When Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall, he knew he couldn’t do it alone, so he enlisted the help of others. All kinds of people were involved… priests, politicians, perfumers, clothiers, tradesmen, bachelors, women… there was a role for everyone. They were all there at the wall.

I want to challenge you today: Do you have a place on the wall? Are you participating in building God’s Kingdom? 

There is a ministry for every person in the fellowship of the Lord—and every place is important. Ask the Lord how you can serve!




  • Have you set aside your “Sacrifice Gift” to help a poor child by skipping a meal out or not buying that new piece of clothing?
  • Don’t miss The Special Gathering Choir this Sunday in worship!

Midweek Message, September 14, 2016

Summer is officially over! After traveling on mission trips and vacation, I finally got back to the gym last week.  And even though I biked and hiked a lot, when I got to the weight machines, oooh did I really feel it.  It was immediately apparent that I had lost something in my muscles and that getting off my physical workout routine had taken its toll. 

Which got me to thinking – if it works that way for my body, then it’s pretty certain it works that way for my spirit – and for yours, too, right?  If or when we get out of practice, out of routine, out of training, spiritually, spending focused time with God – in sharing, confessing, thanking, being in tune, then we lose something in our soul, in our spirit. 

Diligence is a good word, as is routine, and focus.  So, let’s pray for each other and ourselves – that we will “get to the spiritual gym” regularly, so we won’t lose our edge, so we won’t miss out on what God might be wanting to tell us or teach us.  Okay? 



–The administrative offices are moving this week across the street to the Greytwig house. Call me on my cell if you can’t reach the staff. 772-205-7020.

–Thank you! The 54 flood buckets were delivered to Lakeland on Monday for shipping to Louisiana. A special thanks to Rita Grimshaw for driving them to Lakeland.

Midweek Message, Sept. 7, 2016

Again, Henri Nouwen shares some important words for us:

When we enter into solitude to be with God alone, we quickly discover how dependent we are. Without the many distractions of our daily lives, we feel anxious and tense. When nobody speaks to us, calls on us, or needs our help, we start feeling like nobodies. Then we begin wondering whether we are useful, valuable, and significant. Our tendency is to leave this fearful solitude quickly and get busy again to reassure ourselves that we are “somebodies.” But that is a temptation, because what makes us somebodies is not other people’s responses to us but God’s eternal love for us. To claim the truth of ourselves we have to cling to our God in solitude as to the One who makes us who we are.

Have a blessed week knowing the depth of God’s love for you,


Wednesday night Dinner and Enrichment begins again this evening!
Flood Buckets are due in the church office by Thursday. Thanks for your great response! We are over our goal of 30!

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.