Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


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 Message, January 3, 2018

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 When missionary Dr. David Livingstone was working in Africa, a group of friends wrote him: “We would like to send other men to you. Have you found a good road into your area yet?” Dr. Livingstone sent this message in reply: “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

There’s a big difference between just being interested in doing something and actually making a commitment to doing it! Just being interested allows us the freedom do a thing only when our circumstances permit. But making a commitment to do that thing means accepting no excuses and no reservations — it means putting aside our fears and reservations moving forward till we see the end result! Dr. Livingstone was looking for results, and this required persons of commitment!

With 2018 under way, let’s make some commitments! Our Lord, our families, our jobs and our congregations are awaiting us! Happy New Year!


New Church Leader Training – January 10, 5:30pm Ratcliff Hall, all church leaders invited.

Midweek Message, December 20, 2017

(Anna) gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:38

In the Upper Room devotional this past Sunday, the writer spoke about the prophetess Anna who becomes a part of the Christmas Story. I especially appreciated the idea that, in spite of her advanced age, she “kept herself alert for God’s purposes in her life” and “trusted that the Lord had work for her to do.”

I hope that is true for all of us as Christmas approaches, and also, as we live our daily lives. Let’s keep alert for God’s purposes in our life and trust that God has work for us to do. God came to be with us to show us a depth of love never seen before. Let us also be ready for God’s work in our lives so that we can show others that same love.

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Eve Worship:

10:00am Fourth Sunday of Advent, “The Miracle of The Manger”. Be with us as we complete the Advent series and see several movie clips from The Miracle on 34th Street.

4:00pm Candlelight Christmas Eve worship

6:00pm Candlelight Communion Christmas Eve worship

Midweek Message, December 13, 2017

This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Luke 7:27

The Importance of Preparation

Whenever we’re on mission with God like Joseph and Mary were as they waited for the birth of Jesus, we have to prepare.

No one plants seeds one day and expects a harvest in the morning. There are things to do. We are called to cultivate our lives and rest in the fact that God has our future in his hands.

Preparation is a statement of faith. It’s committing to trust even though you’re hurting and heartsick.

Every detail of the Christmas story tells us that Mary and Joseph endured more than their fair share of trials as they waited for the arrival of Jesus. Mary left town. Joseph refused to reject her on the basis of an angelic dream. We can just hear the neighbors gossip about the scandalous events of Mary’s pregnancy. But they prepared and endured it all to be on a much greater mission than any carpenter’s family could imagine.

As you prepare for Christmas and all God has in store for you in the new year, be challenged to prepare for all that’s in store in the following ways:

·         Eliminate distractions. Spend more time with the family and less time at the mall. Simplify your life. Be still and listen to God’s voice

·         Notice God’s hand. Reflect on this past year. How has God carried you through all these good or challenging things?

·         Discern God’s will. Ask God to give you direction.  

·         Unite in a mission. Mary and Joseph undertook an amazing mission on the way to Bethlehem. It certainly must have strengthened their bond as they conquered many obstacles and challenges. There’s nothing more powerful than a couple, a family, or a church rallying around a cause.


Christmas Cantata, Saturday 4:30 and 7pm, Invite a friend or neighbor.

Midweek Message, December 6, 2017

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6

The all-consuming bustle and noise of the Christmas season jostles our senses at this time of year. Presents to buy, cards to write, parties and functions to attend, Christmas holiday plans to be made.

In this season of frenetic clamor, what does it mean for our souls to wait in silence? In whom, or in what, should we trust?

So often, too often, we place our trust in something less than God. We place our trust in busyness, in things, in politicians, in institutions, and in ourselves. We do so time after time, year upon year, and we wonder why it never satisfies. The Psalmist rests content in God alone. The material things and the preoccupations of this age are “lighter than a breath”—of no consequence—compared to the unshakeable strength of God, the rock and fortress of our salvation.

In this Advent season of waiting and preparing we once again place our trust in the God who came among us, the Word made flesh, full of grace and truth. God is the dependable presence in whom we can trust, the source of our hope and our salvation.

For God alone our souls wait in silence. Amen.



·        Advent Vespers take place December 6, 13, 20. Join us for these superb worship experiences.

·        The Christmas Cantata is December 16 at 4:30 and 7:00pm. Don’t miss this very special worship time as we celebrate Christ around the world.

Midweek Message, November 29, 2017

This coming Sunday we celebrate the first Sunday in Advent. Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

Advent is about faith and waiting. What are you waiting on God for this year? Remember the years of silence as God’s people waited for the Messiah. Take time today, right now, to reflect on the fact that God’s timing is quite different from ours.

The story of Jesus’ birth gives us assurance and joy, because even though the waiting lingered for decades, God broke through at just the right time.

Are you struggling with a lack of faith? That’s OK. It doesn’t take much faith to get God’s attention. Jesus encouraged his frustrated followers this way: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

Are you willing to plant faith and wait upon God? Nothing seems to be appearing on the horizon today, but just wait! God always keeps God’s promises, even to those who have little faith. Just wait.



  • Advent Vespers on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm on November 29, December 6, 13, and 20. Wednesday dinner at 5:30 on the same nights.
  • Christmas Cantata is December 16 at 4:30 and 7pm

Midweek Message, November 22, 2017

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)

Most of us 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 God, 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.  Many of our most useful inventions were born from direct experiences.  The world’s greatest gift, salvation, would never have come except Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the open grave.

Let us search for the hidden blessing of every such experience.

Dear God, help me accept life’s storms as rich blessings. Amen.



·        Happy Thanksgiving!

·        This Sunday, November 26, we will be decorating the church for Christmas after worship. I hope you can join us.

Midweek Message, November 15, 2017

Psalms 27:1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

Two hunters came across a bear so big that they dropped their rifles and ran for cover. One man climbed a tree while the other hid in a nearby cave. The bear was in no hurry to eat, so he sat down between the tree and the cave to reflect upon his good fortune. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the hunter in the cave came rushing out, almost ran into the waiting bear, hesitated, and then dashed back in again. The same thing happened a second time. When he emerged for the third time, his companion in the tree frantically called out, “Woody, are you crazy? Stay in the cave till he leaves!” “Can’t,” panted Woody, “there’s another bear in there!”

Ever feel like fear is giving us the run around? Although there are a lot of scary things going on in the world these days and perhaps even in our own personal lives, God has not called us to live in fear. God has called us to stand strong in God’s confidence, knowing that God is in control! God has called us to live lives full of power, love and a sound mind!

Dr. E. Stanley Jones said “I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt, and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath–these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely–these are my native air.”

Let’s say no to fear! Let’s determine to put our hope in the Lord once again today!


  • Nazzareno Carusi in concert, November 19, 3:00pm. Tickets available in the church office.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, November 24, 2:00pm. Sign up in Ratcliff Hall.

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.