Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message, August 16, 2017

When I began to see the news out of Charlottesville this past weekend it broke my heart for our nation and for all people who are seeking a community filled with love, acceptance, and peace. Dr. David Moon summed up much of what I have been feeling in a note he wrote Sunday morning:

While news footage from Charlottesville seems to show both sides engaging in violence, and it may never be completely clear which of the many blows were aggressive, which were retaliatory, and which were defensive, it is abundantly clear that opposing the principles of white supremacy, neo-Nazis, and the Klan is not hate speech, as some portray it. Standing against oppression and protecting the downtrodden is wholly consistent with the values of America and of Christianity; …endorsing bigotry, tolerating repression, or even merely turning a blind eye to the threat of tyranny, are consistent with neither. My father and many others of his generation made enormous sacrifices in opposition to these very principles of hatred, intolerance, and oppression when they arose in Europe and Asia. They were patriots. Now some want to give America over to the very principles that they fought so valiantly to defeat. Equating these abhorrent ideas with patriotism, and their opposition with the very hatred that they represent, is a desecration of the memory of real patriots who gave of themselves in the cause of genuine freedom – freedom for all.

In response to the hateful violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, a number of clergy and other community leaders have organized a brief 30 minute “Rally” for this coming Wednesday, at noon, at the Indian River Courthouse (West Entrance on 16th Avenue) to express this community’s commitment to peace, inclusion and love.  Here is the announcement:


“INDIAN RIVER COUNTY STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE RALLY” — Wednesday, August 16, at noon, on the Western steps of the Indian River County Courthouse, 2000 16th

Avenue, Vero Beach, Florida, 32960.


In response to recent hateful events in Charlottesville, Virginia, a diverse coalition of concerned citizens of Indian River County will be coming together to

“stand on the side of love”

and publically honor and defend the American values of respect and inclusion for all.   Several community leaders will speak on behalf of our great American dream for an inclusive, diverse and peaceful society.  Do be with us for this important community event.

If you have any questions about this community-wide event, please don’t hesitate to contact:

Rev. Scott W. Alexander

Cell 772 359 0602

Midweek Message, August 9, 2017

26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27

This is a part of the passage Rev. Carle will be preaching about this Sunday. It is the story of Jesus walking on the water. This passage, in Matthew’s gospel follows immediately after the feeding of the 5000.

In the Bible we find angels and Jesus saying these words over and over to us humans. “Fear Not! or “Do Not Be Afraid!” Why is it we are such fear-filled beings? At least Jesus and the angels know us well enough to give us a warning! 🙂

In my own life, I find that fear, in some form or another, is what keeps me from advancing in so many aspects of life. Whether it be my faith walk, relationships, or the future….fear is what often holds me back. May we all heed the words of Jesus and act boldly, without fear, knowing that God is always with us and always for us!



Thank you to those feeding the hungry at The Source this coming Sunday!

Café Worship: a bilingual, contemporary worship begins Tuesday, August 22, 6:30pm.

Midweek Message, August 2, 2017

This Sunday I will be preaching on the story of the Feeding of the 5000. As I was preparing I came across this poem by David Whyte from his book House of Belonging. It spoke to me of the need for people living out faithful lives as disciples of Jesus, especially in our interaction with others.


by David Whyte

This is not the age of information.

This is not

The age of information.


Forget the news,

And the radio,

And the blurred screen.


This is the time of loaves

and fishes.


People are hungry,

and one good word is bread

For a thousand.


I pray that this week you find ways to speak “one good word” to another.





·        Our new bilingual, contemporary worship begins Tuesday, August 22, 6:30pm in Ratcliff Hall. Join us!

·        A cruise to Cuba is being planned for May of 2018. Please join us on this adventure. Contact Dee Bannon at 772-234-6450 for more details. I hope to have a visit with local Methodists in Havana as a part of the cruise.

Midweek Message, July 26, 2017

I allowed two incidences on Sunday to change my mood from one of being very hopeful and God-focused to a feeling of deep disappointment and sadness. As an introvert, I process through quiet thought over time, but, sometimes my mood is still pretty poor while I am processing my feelings.

When I read this piece on Monday morning from Henri Nouwen’s daily devotional, it was a slap in the face to help me see how I had allowed myself to be controlled by what others say and do rather than living out of thankfulness for God’s grace and love in my life. I publicly apologize to Lisa for having to deal with my unpleasant mood on Sunday afternoon. Nouwen writes:

Are we condemned to be passive victims of our moods? Must we simply say: “I feel great today” or “I feel awful today,” and require others to live with our moods?

Although it is very hard to control our moods, we can gradually overcome them by living a well-disciplined spiritual life. This can prevent us from acting out of our moods. We might not “feel” like getting up in the morning because we “feel” that life is not worth living, that nobody loves us, and that our work is boring. But if we get up anyhow, to spend some time reading the Gospels, praying the Psalms, and thanking God for a new day, our moods may lose their power over us.

 Hopeful for change in my life and yours,



·        We welcome two new babies into the church family. Jude Sunny Allenbaugh born July 19 and Frederic Crocker Breese III born on July 22.

·        August 2 at 5:30pm is our summertime monthly Covered Dish dinner and C.S. Lewis night. Next week we will be watching The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian film starting at  Join us!

Midweek Message, July 19, 2017

Our Bishop, Ken Carter, shared these thoughts on the scripture from this past Sunday and the scripture for this coming Sunday:

The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 describes the contexts in which the word of God is heard and lived, or not. The different soils (hard surface, shallow, thorny, good) are analogous to the way we hear the word and the way we live. Jesus then offers another parable, about good soil in which weeds and wheat grow up together.

This is a biblical vision of the church–not a political vision, not a sociological vision, not a marketing vision. On this side of heaven the church is always wheat and weeds, a school for saints and a hospital for sinners at the same time.

The two parables, side by side, call us to the inner change of being the good soil, which is holiness, receptivity and transparency, and the outer change of refraining from purging or purifying the church and allowing God to be the judge, at the harvest, which is in his own time and in his own ways.

We can live into this call because we are deeply into the Sundays after Pentecost, and we believe that the Holy Spirit continues to do this work among the saints and sinners who compose every church, and indeed among the wheat and weeds that grow in every human heart.

Amen, Bishop!

See you all on Sunday as we hear more about wheat and weeds.


P.S. Thank you to all who shopped and participated in providing “Back to School” clothes for the kids at

The Hope For Families Center

. A meal will be served and clothes delivered next week thanks to the Good Soil people of CBTS.

Midweek Message, July 12, 2017

5 days.

50 children.

35 volunteers.

And one amazing spirit of joy and gladness.

That’s the numerical summary of our Christ By The Sea campus this week, as we have been experiencing yet another incredible Vacation Bible School. Themed “Mighty Fortress: In Jesus, The Victory Is Won,” every room has been transformed into an imaginative and immersive place for our children to experience God’s love for them.

Kudos, of course, go to our stellar Vacation Bible School team of adult and youth volunteers. Running a weeklong program for 50 kids has required months of preparation and weeks of gathering, building, and fine-tuning every little detail to make this an unforgettable experience. And thank you, for your faithful and generous stewardship that makes these kinds of programs possible.

We remember that the goal of VBS is not just to entertain and amuse. The reason this church puts such a high priority on this week is that each morning, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., our children are learning vital spiritual truths that can shape their lives for years to come.

As you venture into the rest of your summer, take a moment to give thanks for another wonderful Vacation Bible School, and for all the people that made it happen. More importantly, know that: In Jesus, The Victory Is Won. Amen.




Give the gift of life this Sunday at the Bloodmobile.


Midweek Message, July 5, 2017

As the United States celebrates the 4th of July – Independence Day – we’re often reminded of the price that was paid for our freedom. But today, in that spirit, I want to recall a time when a heavy price was paid for a translation of our Bible.

William Tyndale, a 16th century Englishman, translated the Bible into English while living in Germany. Finally, in 1525, he was able to publish a New Testament in English. But the church authorities at the time were not pleased and they angrily sought to destroy Tyndale and his translation. Finally, he was caught and brought back to England where he was burned at the stake.

As he was dying, he uttered these words: “Lord open the eyes of the King of England.” His prayer became a prophecy, as it was the King of England, King James, who finally did publish the entire Bible in English about a hundred years later. Our English Bible translations became a reality through William Tyndale’s heroic sacrifice and bravery, ultimately at the price of his lifeblood.

The freedom that we so enjoy on this day is only a taste of the real freedom we have in Messiah; the promise of eternal forgiveness and freedom from sin. The cost of that freedom was the precious blood of the savior Jesus. William Tyndale offered his life so we could read about this spiritual freedom in our own language. As we have celebrated our earthly freedom this Independence Day, let’s not forget to also give thanks for our eternal liberty that we find in our Lord.



Please be praying for the kids and adults who will be a part of Vacation Bible School next week.

Midweek Message, June 28, 2017

This past Sunday’s sermon included the words of Jesus which he spoke several times concerning the high cost of discipleship and following Him. Jesus says in Matthew 10:39: Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Henri Nouwen shared these words about courage and taking risks. They express the challenge of following Jesus and the joy of gaining the gift of eternal life.

Courage is connected with taking risks. Jumping the Grand Canyon on a motorbike, coming over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or crossing the ocean in a rowboat are called courageous acts because people risk their lives by doing these things. But none of these daredevil acts comes from the centre of our being. They all come from the desire to test our physical limits and to become famous and popular.

Spiritual courage is something completely different. It is following the deepest desires of our hearts at the risk of losing fame and popularity. It asks of us the willingness to lose our temporal lives in order to gain eternal life.

May we have the courage….Amen.


·        VBS sign-up is now! July 10-14 is going to be a GREAT week!

·        July 5 is our Wednesday Covered Dish Dinner and C.S. Lewis night. Join us! 5:30pm dinner, 6:00pm C.S. Lewis film.

Midweek Message, June 21, 2017


I wanted to share this prayer with you that I heard at our Florida Annual Conference meeting a couple of weeks ago. It touched my heart with its truth.

It was written by Thomas Langford, who was the Dean of Duke Divinity School, later Provost of the University, and a United Methodist clergyman from the Western North Carolina Conference.

“O God,
Your intention to give exceeds our readiness to receive.
Your boundless love is restricted by our small vessels.
Your generosity far exceeds our responding reception.
Your richness is restrained by our poverty of expectation.
Your expansiveness is channeled through our small hearts.
Enlarge our capacity.
Increase our receptivity.
Open us to your full life.
Make us more able to receive your generous grace.



Have a grace-filled week,



  • Sign up for the July10-14 VBS today!
  • Our teens are at camp this week. Please keep them in your prayers that God will touch their lives in a mighty way.

Midweek Message, June 14, 2017

As we are in the season of Pentecost, this piece from Henri Nouwen seemed most appropriate. He writes:

When we speak about the Holy Spirit, we speak about the breath of God, breathing in us. The Greek word for “spirit” is pneuma, which means “breath.” We are seldom aware of our breathing. It is so essential for life that we only think about it when something is wrong with it.

The Spirit of God is like our breath. God’s spirit is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. We might not often be aware of it, but without it we cannot live a “spiritual life.” It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy. It is the Holy Spirit who offers us the life that death cannot destroy. Let us always pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, come.”

Have a blessed week,



·        VBS sign-up is NOW! VBS week is July 10-14.

·        Please be in prayer for our teens at camp next week!

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.