Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message, July 6, 2016

Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before people, to be seen by them… But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matt. 6: 1, 3, 4). You may have heard the phrase:  “Living for an ‘audience of One.’ ”  It speaks to these verses above, to our living out of the secret place of our close relationship with God, so that we are in tune with God, and God alone; certainly not to gain the applause of others.   It’s all about the inner life, our walk with God, our journey with Jesus, our close communion with the Holy Spirit. It’s not about the distractions, those things that pull us away from the main thing that matters most. It’s about our relationship with God. Live for Him – today and forever.  

Grace and Peace,



  • VBS is almost here! Please pray for the kids and leaders as we prepare for this special week of July 11-15.
  • Our Mission Team to Costa Rica will be leaving July 16. Please keep the team in your prayers!

Midweek Message, June 29, 2016

Finally, sisters and brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things… and put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8, 9).

 I’m tempted to hope that somehow our politicians could practice doing the above, but I know better.  But I am hopeful that all who are followers of Christ will make these virtues and aspirations a part of their/our daily practice.  Let’s do this – whatever is:








 Wow!  The world will be a better place.  Christians, doing these is rare and radical, but it could set the world aright.  And whether it accomplishes that goal completely, doing these will surely set us aright, and will be a blessing to those immediately around us.




  • Vacation Bible School is July 13-17. Sign-up continues!
  • The Bloodmobile will be here this Sunday. Can you donate?
  • This Sunday we continue our Beatitudes series with Blessed are the Peacemakers.

Midweek Message, June 22, 2016

Rejoice in The Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near (Philippians 4:4,5).

Here is how Eugene Peterson says it in The Message:  “Celebrate God all day, every day.  I mean, revel in him!”

Two things:  First, Paul is reminding us exactly how we should live.  Living in joy/rejoicing is good for our health, for our spirits, for our emotions.  It’s just really good for us!

Second, if I’m honest (and I’ve always tried to be with you), I’ve had some days that were so bad that if anyone tried to tell me what Paul is saying here I would have thrown something at them or told them to be quiet!!  You’ve no doubt had those days, too, which is why we love the Psalms, which give us permission to do the opposite of rejoicing – when we need to, when life is crashing in, falling apart:  “How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever!!  Out of the depths I’ve called to you.”  There are just some days that we are in no mood to rejoice.  That doesn’t negate the truth of Paul’s command, it’s just a reminder that we need the whole Bible, otherwise we try to appear other than we are.

 Having said that, it’s also true that we can sometimes “talk ourselves into” a new and better reality.  And so, rejoicing, even when we might not feel like it is a very good thing.

I hope your day begins (or began) with you rejoicing in God.  If the chemo is making you miserable or the credit card is overdrawn and overdo, if the people around you have been mean, then that may be hard to do, so go ahead and tell God how you really feel, and then look for little ways all through your day as to how you can rejoice, and see if maybe, just maybe, your joy grows.  

 Love and prayers,



  • Sign up for VBS to be held July 11-15.
  • Praise God for Ria Bakker’s healing. She is now back at home.

Midweek Message, June 15, 2016

I have been reading various posts on Facebook related to what happened here in Orlando early Sunday morning. I guess it shouldn’t, but it has surprised me how quick some people are to use this tragedy as a way to jump to their pet political perspective, using it as a jumping off point for hostile expressions and finger pointing.

Just for a little while can’t this be about the people who are in unspeakable pain as a result of what happened, and that’s all? Just for a little while can’t we all unite with broken hearts for them, and that’s all? Just for a little while, can’t we allow ourselves to feel with them and to pray for them? Just for a little while?

In the hope of Jesus for love, compassion, and mercy…..



  • Please continue in prayer for the families impacted by the Orlando shooting.
  • Join us for a special Father’s Day tribute this Sunday.

Midweek Message, June 8, 2016


Favorite verses in Philippians
I am confident in this, that God who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

This has long been a verse of great encouragement to me.  When I felt out of touch with God, down on myself, or discouraged about something, this verse would come to me and I would remember:

  1. It is God who is working within me,
  2. It is a good work God is doing within me.
  3. God is still moving in my life (the “Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet” buttons come from this verse).
  4. God will continue shaping and loving and guiding me – until I transition from this life to the next.
  5. God is good – all the time, and all the time – God is good.

I am confident in this, that God who began a good work in YOU will carry it on to completion!  

Amen, and love and prayers,



  • Sign up to feed at the Source this summer! It’s a wonderful experience of giving to others.
  • VBS registration is open now!

Midweek Message, June 1, 2016

You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matt 5:14,16).

It’s a big responsibility isn’t it – to let God’s light shine thru us -every day, as much as possible, so that others can get a glimpse of who God is. Big responsibility; probably it was someone else’s light shining that drew you upward wasn’t it? That’s how it works. Let’s do our best today to do what Jesus told us to do and let our light shine.

P.S. It is a big deal that Jesus places that much confidence in us, isn’t it?!

Love and prayers,



  • Join us Sunday as we celebrate our graduates and welcome new members!
  • Have you signed up to feed at The Source for this summer?

Midweek Message, May 25, 2016

My devotional reading I receive from the Henri Nouwen Society on Tuesday fit last Sunday’s sermon so well, I thought I’d share it with you. Nouwen writes: Jesus, the Blessed One, is poor. The poverty of Jesus is much more than an economic or social poverty. Jesus is poor because he freely chose powerlessness over power, vulnerability over defensiveness, dependency over self-sufficiency. As the great “Song of Christ” so beautifully expresses in Philippians 2: “He … did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, … becoming as human beings are” (Philippians 2:6-7). This is the poverty of spirit that Jesus chose to live. Jesus calls us who are blessed as he is to live our lives with that same poverty.

Amen and have a blessed week!



  • Congrats to our 5 Confirmands – Jack, Diana, Marcus, Isabella and Madison.
  • June 1st – Wednesday covered dish dinner and movie night – The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Midweek Message May 18, 2016


This week we pick up Psalm 37 from last week….Delight yourself in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)

Notice the connection between “delight” and “desires:”  Delight in God, tune in to God, align your heart with God’s desires, and then your desires will be the very desires that God delights to satisfy, because they are no longer your/my own selfish desires, but the desires that have come from constant delighting in God, that reflect the values of God – and of the image of God implanted within each of us, that same image that Jesus came to restore to its intended place, our true home.

Aren’t you reminded of the words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount:  “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.”  And these words:  “Ask, seek, knock, for everyone who asks receives; who seeks finds and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Delight yourself in God, and God will give you the desires of your heart – today, all day, every day!  


Midweek Message May 11, 2016

I love the opening verses of Psalm 37 because they all begin with action verbs and, collectively, they cover the essence of the faith-filled life.  Take a look: Trust in The Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture (Psalm 37:3) Trust in, believe in, connect deeply with, walk with, hold onto, and love – The Lord; make Him first in your/my life.  And do good. It’s saying the same thing as the two great commandments, but just uses different words:  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself:  Trust God and do good (to others).The result:  you will dwell in the land (the land of knowing you are doing the right thing and are in the right relationship!) and enjoy safe pasture (think Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd… green pastures). Four ideas that will serve you well today:  Trust, do good, dwell, enjoy.  Say them again and say them often.  Trust, do good, dwell, enjoy – all day, every day.  




  • Wear Red this Sunday to celebrate Pentecost!
  • Next Sunday, May 22, we will celebrate several youth joining the church and being confirmed in Christ! Alleluia!
  • The Greytwig house (next to our parking lot) renovation is coming along nicely. Demolition is complete and framing is almost finished.

Midweek Message May 4, 2016

This week I continue sharing some of my favorite verses. I hope you’ll share some of yours with me as well by responding to this email.
This one is the one I go to when I’m having a really tough day:
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; knocked down but never knocked out! (2 Corinthians 4: 7-9).

 Ever had a day like that?  Oh, yes.  We all have, but we hold on to the great truth – that the Holy Spirit dwells within our fragile “jars of clay” and keeps us from being crushed.  Now, I (and you!) can go out and tackle anything this day might bring to us!  Go in God. Amen.

 Love and prayers,



  • Hooray! We finally have the building permit for the Greytwig house renovation. Work started this week!
  • Join us tonight at 6pm tonight in Ratcliff Hall as we watch the movie “WAR ROOM”.

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.