Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message, November 8, 2017

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Once again, we have heard the horrible, troubling news of another mass shooting. This time in a small Texas church. Please be in prayer for these grieving brothers and sisters in Christ. We truly live in troubling times, fraught with anxious feelings. I am thankful for these words of our Lord, which, while life is often tenuous and distressing, assure us that in Christ we can have peace, for He has overcome the world.

This does not mean that we put our head in the sand and ignore the threats around us. Christ By the Sea has had a plan for a crisis for some time, but we are now making plans to develop a more specific plan in regards to an active shooter. Our leadership takes the protection of our people seriously. We will be training our ushers and greeters with the assistance of local law enforcement.

Know that God’s love surrounds us always, and especially in times of trouble.




  • Band of Brothers meet this Saturday at CJ Cannon’s, 8 am
  • Thanksgiving dinner for those alone this year is at 2 pm. Sign-up to join us.
  • Cuba Cruise informational meeting is this coming Monday, Nov 13, 6 pm in Ratcliff Hall.

Midweek Message, November 1, 2017

There’s a yearly reminder of our connectedness as Christians to the church. It’s called “All Saints Day” and is commemorated every November 1st. We will celebrate it this coming Sunday. Perhaps, you were taught to think of saints as statues in a church building. But the Bible teaches something completely different. Who is a saint? You are. That is, if you’re a follower of Jesus. God calls a “saint” anyone who trusts in Christ alone for salvation (see Acts 9:13, 26:10, Romans 8:27, 1 Corinthians 1:2).

There’s a hymn that’s traditionally sung around this holiday called “For All the Saints.” It encourages believers to look back through the years of Christian history and think of the millions now enjoying rest and salvation in the presence of God. It’s also meant to provide encouragement to believers here and now to press on, looking forward to the glorious day…

“…when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia, Alleluia!”

See you Sunday!



  • The Soup Bowl is tomorrow. Join us here at CBTS to support the Samaritan Center.
  • Thank you to all who made the Pumpkin Patch a huge success!
  • Sign-up now for the Thanksgiving Dinner at CBTS for those without family in town.

Midweek Message, October 25, 2017

Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8

The world-renowned author and theologian, Karl Barth, once was asked if there was one sentence that summed up his years of work. He responded by saying, “Yes, it is a sentence I learned on my mother’s knee. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I simply want to share how often I see this love made real through the people at CBTSUMC. From unloading pumpkins, to greeting each other warmly with a hug or a kiss, to folks working on a mission team in Key West, to the many ways you have made me feel appreciated and loved the past two weeks, to surrounding Marcos’ family with your care and support, and the list goes on….just this week alone!

Thank you for being a church that let’s others see God’s love through your actions and words. It warms the heart of your pastor.



·        The Pumpkin Patch is in full swing. Sign up to help by contacting Tom Bugg.

·        Please pray for me this week as I am in Gulf Breeze, FL preparing to move my mother and a sister to Vero Beach.

·        Join us for a special sermon this week celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and the baptism of baby Deric Breese.

Midweek Message, October 18, 2017

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Perhaps this is wrong, but I have a hard time trusting church people who never admit imperfection.

I don’t mean imperfection of the minor kind. I don’t care that your kids’ school lunches aren’t perfectly balanced, or that you skipped yoga class three times last week. I mean real imperfection. You got addicted to something. You got fired from your job. Or you messed up big time and it was all your fault.

When people and things at a church are just a little too neat and tidy, I get a little curious about that church’s spiritual life. Why? Because no one’s life is neat and tidy, and Christians should be the first ones to admit that.

Christians are people who have received grace. We should be people who know at our bedrock that we once were broken badly, and that God loved us and lifted us up.

I heard a speaker at a conference recently who was asked what is best indication that a congregation will die. She replied, “A church that is full of people who cannot tell you about God’s grace in their own lives.”

Why? Because people who know that they have received God’s grace, and who don’t forget it, know what church is all about. It’s not about keeping up appearances. It’s not about appearing morally righteous. It’s not about saying the right things and getting ahead. It’s about knowing that you once were lost and now are found.

Let us strive to be a church full of people that can tell the stories of our rock bottoms without shame, so that we will be a church that truly can share God’s grace.



·         The Pumpkin Patch is in full swing. Sign-up to assist with this important outreach.

·         Pray for our Mission Team in Key West. They are there Tuesday -Saturday this week.

Midweek Message, October 11, 2017

But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

It has been a challenging fall season. I have come to lean on this passage because I have surely needed to run and not be weary. From an unsettling staff issue which sidelined the Bilingual, contemporary worship service, to hurricanes and their relief work, to a challenging concern with a church member, to preparing to move my mother to Vero Beach, to the serious health matters with Marcos’ mother, it has been an emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausting season.

This is the sort of season where I am tempted to allow my spiritual disciplines to slip away because I tell myself I am too busy. But, I know from experience that this is the kind of season in which I need to stay even more connected to God and more disciplined with my prayer, devotional reading, and meditation.

I hope and pray that whenever you have a very full, stress-filled season of life that you cling to God so that the Lord can renew your strength…so that you can run and not be weary.




  • Pumpkins arrive! Please come out and help us unload the pumpkins on Friday, the 13th, at 4pm.
  • Keys Mission Trip (October 17-21) needs work gloves, rakes, and heavy pruners. We plan to leave all tools in Key West for others to use. All supplies needed by this Sunday.

Midweek Message, October 4, 2017

“In everything God works for the good of those who love him” Romans 8:28

Really, God, in everything? Even in hurricanes, earthquakes, and shootings?! The Apostle John, often called Jesus’ closest friend, came to see the crucifixion, the death of his beloved friend, as a triumph. Can triumph come out of tragedy? I know that it can because I have experienced it.

Could I challenge you with a little exercise? Remove the word “everything” from Romans 8:28 and replace it with the symbol of your own tragedy. How would Romans 8:28 read in your life?

In hospital stays God works for the good.
In divorce papers God works for the good.
In a prison term God works for the good.
In my bankruptcy God works for the good.

If God can change the Apostle John’s life and mine through a tragedy, could it be God will use a tragedy to change yours? Please know that I don’t believe God causes tragedy, only that God can transform it into something God can use for good in your life.

Blessings to you,



·        The Pumpkin Patch begins soon. Sign up now to be a part of this outreach to our community.

·        Training for the Beachland Elementary volunteers begins soon. Call Chris Matthews for more details.

·        All our choirs re-start this week. Join us!

Midweek Message, September 27, 2017

Henri Nouwen writes: Our own experience with loneliness, depression, and fear can become a gift for others, especially when we have received good care. As long as our wounds are open and bleeding, we scare others away. But after someone has carefully tended to our wounds, they no longer frighten us or others.

When we experience the healing presence of another person, we can discover our own gifts of healing. Then our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.

When I read this piece from Nouwen, I thought of our Grief Group and the wonderful way they act as ‘Wounded Healers” for one another. So many of you do this in your life. You take a hurt, seek healing, and then use that healing to help others. Thank you for being a wonderful congregation of caring people seeking to share God’s love.



  • Cuba cruise Informational dinner is October 2 at 6pm. Call Cliff to sign up for dinner.
  • Pumpkin Patch volunteers are needed. Contact Dave Althoff to be a patch worker.
  • Mission Trip to the Lower Keys; October 17-21. Contact Cliff for more information.

Midweek Message, September 6, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Please know that we are watching Irma closely. My hope is that you have made preliminary plans for your safety and provision. On Thursday morning, we will be deciding how much protection to put in place at the church. We will probably know by Friday if the island may be evacuated. On Saturday, I will be sending out an e-mail as to whether or not we will have worship this coming Sunday.

As we, here in Florida, continue to assist the residents of Texas and Louisiana, we keep a watchful eye on Irma and make our preparations. Thank you for your tremendous response to Hurricane Harvey assistance. Most of the 50 buckets were taken Sunday to be filled and many Health Kits were taken as well. Many more of you made a donation to disaster relief. What a loving and caring church!

Please let me know if you need assistance if Irma comes our way. We have a small team of people willing to assist where needed. Please watch your email for future notices about this weekend. Let’s surround one another with prayer. Be safe. Be well.

These words from the hymn, ”Give To The Winds Thy Fears” vs 2, provide me hope and comfort as a storm draws near:

Through waves and clouds and storms, God gently clears the way;

Wait thou God’s time, so shall this night soon end in joyous day.





Midweek Message, August 30, 2017

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40

Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc across much of Texas. I am sure you have seen photos of the devastating flooding in Houston. You might recall our collecting flood buckets last year. We are going to do that again along with health kits. These have both been requested by our United Methodist Disaster Relief Team. I will be sending the list of items for the buckets and health kits as soon as I receive them from the Disaster Team. Collections will begin this week.

Of course, monetary donations are always helpful. They will be sent directly to the Disaster Relief Coordinators so that they can be put to use immediately.

In my conversation with the Disaster Relief Coordinator, she mentioned that they still are in need of recovery teams here in Florida from Hurricane Matthew and Hermione. She said they have received a grant for continued relief, but are lacking volunteers. I am pursuing getting a work team together for a trip this fall somewhere in Florida to assist. If you are interested in going, please call me at the church office. (772-231-1661 ext 301)




·        Wednesday dinner and study begins September 13. Sign up now!

·        Cuba Cruise informational dinner is September 6 at 6:00pm. Join us for black beans and rice along with details about this exciting trip.

Midweek Message, August 23, 2017

Sarah Young’s devotional book, Jesus Calling, shared these words for August 20, which were very helpful to me as I prayed for a number of people, including myself, who were dealing with loss this past week.

I am a God who heals. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very Presence has immense healing powers. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing.

The first step in receiving healing is to live ever so close to Me…

Heal us, O God, and keep us ever close to you. Amen.


·        I am saddened to report that we have cancelled our Café Worship experience on Tuesday nights.

·        On Wednesday, September 6 an informational dinner will be held concerning the Cuba Cruise for May 2018. Call Cliff for a reservation.

·        Our Wednesday dinner and study resumes on September 13. Join us.

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.