Christ by the Sea Messages

Walk through the Bible with Pastor Cliff Melvin.


Midweek Message June 7, 2017

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22:1)

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

Did you know that these two (very different!) Psalms were placed next to each other – I suspect for good reason.  They reflect the polar opposites of our lives; they reflect the range of our emotions, of our prayers, of our experiences – from desperation to trust; from despair to hope; from despondency to confidence – and everything in between.

If you have lived on this earth for any length of time you have
experienced both of these Psalms (which is part of the beauty of the Psalms).  They both give expression to feelings you may not know you have or know how to express.

I love the honesty of the Psalms, embracing fully the beautiful

trustfulness of Psalm 23 and the utter starkness of Psalm 22, which, as you will also recall, Jesus quotes while he is on the cross.

Both “poles” give me permission and encouragement to share honestly with God.  And both Psalms give me hope, that “joy comes in the morning,” that “light comes after the darkness,” that “all will be well, and all will be well.”




  • June 11th is “The Source” Sunday. Sign up to serve or provide food for the meal at this homeless center.
  • The Florida Annual Conference (Annual Meeting) is June 10-13 in Orlando. Please pray for the delegates.
  • Sign up NOW for Vacation Bible School being held July 10-14


Midweek Message, May 31, 2017


O Lord, the king rejoices in your strength.  How great is his joy in
the victories you give.  You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.  You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head (Psalm 21:1 – 3

We call this a “Royal Psalm” as it refers to the King of Israel,
presumably King David, but in the life of the Church it, along with
other similar Psalms, came to be seen as a reference to the King of
kings, even Jesus the Christ.  Reading it through this lens makes a
beautiful connection with Jesus.

As you may know, Jesus came to be viewed in the early Church as the fulfillment of three key Old Testament offices:  Prophet, Priest and King. 

Understood properly, this Psalm is also about us – followers of Jesus whom Jesus elevates to – dare we say it – to royal status, but the royalty that embraces service on behalf of others.

Do you perhaps remember that beautiful line from the movie “Cider

House Rules” where Michael Caine, who plays Dr. Wilbur Larch, would say each night as he closed the door on the dorm rooms where the orphan boys slept:  “Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.”  And they began to believe him, and began to live into his belief in them, just as Zacchaeus responded to Jesus’ claim that he was a child of Abraham, and we are invited to be/become children of the King!  Amen.




  • June 11th is “The Source” Sunday. Sign up to serve or provide food for the meal at this homeless center.
  • The Florida Annual Conference (Annual Meeting) is June 10-13 in Orlando. Please pray for the delegates.
  • Sign up NOW for Vacation Bible School being held July 10-14

Midweek Message, May 24, 2017

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of God’s hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard (Psalm 19: 1 – 3). 

If you haven’t already, look up – up to the skies, and around – at the trees, and flowers and grass, and water and behold – the beauty and majesty of God! The Yes, of God!  These are all visual, tangible declarations of God, shouting for any who will hear – the glory of God.

Feel it, hear it every time you visit Christ By The Sea’s amazing campus – such beauty, such majesty!  And I know that the trend has been and maybe still is to create these multi-imaged, amazing technicolored spaces in modern worship centers – but I’ll take our windows looking out onto God’s trees and ponds and resurrection ferns and sky any day, every day – because they are declaring NOT the ingenuity/superficiality of humans, but the GLORY of God; may we have ears to hear and eyes to see! 




·        Ria Bakker died on Tuesday, May 23. Please keep Adrian and the Bakker family in your prayers.

·        The Florida Annual Conference (Annual Meeting) is June 10-13 in Orlando. Please pray for the delegates.

·        Sign up NOW for Vacation Bible School being held July 10-14

Midweek Message May 17, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with self-centered people. You know, the people that just seem to only think about themselves. Working with them is the worst. You probably have someone like this in your life, who just really gets you angry every time you think about all the self-centered things they have done. We know the only way they will change is with Jesus, but we still have a difficult time interacting with them.

Today’s verse struck a chord with me because it showed how Jesus viewed people who were not followers of him. He said they were harassed and helpless. Those are two things we don’t want to have in our lives, harassment and helplessness. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless, like you don’t have control of a situation. Jesus says that this is what these self-centered people are feeling. What a horrible way to live life! No wonder they care about themselves more than others. They are just trying to bring some stability to their lives.

Not only do we learn how Jesus viewed them, but also how he felt for them. Jesus had compassion for them and tells us to pray for them in the next verse. How convicting! Often times there is not a drop of compassion in me as I interact with these people, but Jesus did have compassion.

When we have the heart of Jesus we will begin to see those around us with the eyes of Jesus. Stop right now and ask Jesus to give you His heart and His view for the challenging people around you.

Have a blessed week,


Midweek Message, May 10, 2017

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a

Henri Nouwen writes: “Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires toughness and roughness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high. There is no place for gentleness in such a milieu.

Gentle is the one who does “not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick” (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let’s dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.”

May we be reminders of God’s presence to others as we go through our day.


  • Band of Brothers meets this Saturday, May 13 at CJ Cannon’s, 8am
  • New Women’s Study begins this Thursday, May 11, 10:00am
  • Now is the time to sign up for Vacation Bible School coming July 10-14.

Midweek Message, April 26, 2017

Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them…Joshua 21:43 

Think about the Christian you want to be. What qualities do you want to have? More compassion? More conviction? More courage? What attitudes do you want to discontinue? Greed? Guilt? Endless negativity? Here’s the good news. You can. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be—indeed, the person God made you to be. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that we can live “from glory to glory.” The walls of Jericho—they are already condemned. The giants are already on the run. The deed to your new life is already signed. It just falls to you to possess the land. 



Join us at 6:15 this evening to hear about the recent trip to Cuba.

The next Habitat work day is May 6.

Midweek Message, April 21, 2017

There are two important items I need to share with you today. First, the vandal who broke our windows has been caught and is currently in jail on several charges, including ours. Please keep this young man in your prayers as he is in a very bad place emotionally. He will be incarcerated for several weeks until the courts make a further decision. I cannot share anything more with you as the person is a minor and the investigation is ongoing.

Also, at our Church Council meeting on Tuesday, the 25th at 4pm, we will have the principal of Beachland Elementary here to speak to us about the changes at the school both in demographics and to the physical plant. Mrs. Barker will be sharing how we can partner more fully with the school and make a difference in the lives of the students and the teachers. I encourage everyone to come and hear her presentation in Ratcliff Hall.

I hope to see you at the golf tournament on Saturday afternoon!


Midweek Message, April 12, 2017

Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week, a week in which Christian tradition marks the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. It is a week in which we retell and remember a biblical account fraught with violence and tension, political intrigue, and incredible cruelty.

Holy Week invites us to know the narrative of these final days experientially. It is a week marked by the darkest shadows, the insanity of political machination, the tenderness of a communal meal, and the way of the cross. It is also a week filled with hope, a week that culminates in the mystery of an empty tomb. It is a week in which we know anew that God always, mysteriously brings forth life out of death.

Enter the week, enter the story. And listen with your deepest self as the events of the week unfold.

During this Holy Week, may I walk with Christ as he has walked with me. Amen.


Wednesday at 6:30 pm

Thursday at 6:00 pm (Ratcliff Hall)

Friday at 7:00 pm

Saturday is the Easter Cantata at 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm

Easter Sunday at 8:30, 9:40, and 11:00 am

Midweek Message, April 5, 2017

I read a devotional titled “Old Timers” this past weekend. This scripture from Hebrews was used and it made me think of the “cloud of witnesses” I was with from Thursday to Saturday. I was with my clergy covenant group, a group of 10 brothers whom I love and respect. The group has been meeting for over 30 years, but I have only been with them for 15 years. Half of them are retired now, so we are feeling like “Old-Timers” when we see the young clergy at district and conference meetings.

These guys have been “ a cloud of witnesses” for me for the past 15 years as they have mentored me, prayed for me, let me cry and be angry, and have held me accountable. I know that without them, I would not be in ministry today.

While I have many other “witnesses from my past, these guys have been the core for the past 15 years.

Who are your “cloud of witnesses”? Who are the people who have prayed for you, guided you in faith, taught you about being a disciple, and walked beside in times of trial?

God bless all of our “witnesses”.

Have a blessed week!



  • Lenten Midweek worship at 6:30 on Wednesday. Rita Grimshaw will be sharing her faith story.
  • Holy Week worship schedule includes Lenten Midweek, Maundy Thursday meal and worship (reservations requested), Good Friday worship, Easter Cantata, and Three services Easter Sunday.

Midweek Message, March 29, 2017

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

I had a meeting with a friend this week which reminded me of an important lesson. There are people of all ages, shapes, backgrounds who do not feel either loved or lovable. In my life, I have been so blessed to have had parents who loved me deeply, family members who express their love regularly, great friends who show their love for me, and a wonderful church that lets me know in many ways that I am loved. These gifts of love make it simple for me to know that God loves me as well.

But, this is not true for many people. Far too many people do not believe they are loved or even lovable. This gives us a critical task. It is to express love to others in such a way that they come to believe they are loved and to know they are very lovable. Jesus would not only expect this of us, but he feels so deeply about it that he even makes it a command.

So, in case you don’t know it….GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!



  • Our Matching Gift Campaign is underway! Help us meet our goal this coming Sunday with a special gift.
  • Prepare now for Holy Week. Here is the schedule:

April 12 Wednesday Lenten Worship, 6:30pm

April 13 Maundy Thursday Worship 6:00pm in Ratcliff Hall with a Middle Eastern simple meal and communion. (reservations requested)

April 14 Good Friday worship 7:00pm

April 15 Easter Cantata 4:30 and 7:00pm

April 16 Easter morning worship 8:30, 9:40, 11:00am

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.