Sunday, September 02, 2007

chlorine and saltwater

“I never thought I’d see this day,” said one reflective and stunned woman whose husband had just gotten baptized.

Several of us were standing in the west wing on the other side of the exit doors congratulating people who had come out of the water, high-fiving and cheering. But her husband simply stood there soaked and weeping salty tears mixed with chlorinated water, shoulders heaving. We embraced. He literally couldn’t speak.

As he sloshed down the hall to the changing room, still unable to talk, she said slowly, “This place has changed our lives. I never thought I’d see my dad come to Jesus, but shortly before he died, he surrendered his life to Christ. And then my husband fought me to not come here, but here he is today. I never really thought this day would come.” She had baptized him herself but I think short of being there in the water, she looked like someone just awakened from a vivid dream, not sure what is real and what isn’t.

After the last person came out, I looked at our Junior High pastor, Matt Milthaler, and said, “That’s our paycheck.” He smiled.

It’s not “this place” that changed them. There are times I wish we could take credit for a cool environment or the clever turn-of-a-phrase, but it doesn’t matter how hip the place and how wordsmithed the message; without the presence of the Holy Spirit, we’re just putting on a mediocre show. Or as Jesus put it, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15.5).

God have mercy on us if we ever forget how beautiful and powerful these moments are. May we never take these weekends for granted.

And I’m still waiting for some baptizer to get snatched away by the Holy Spirit. To quote Homer (Simpson, that is), “Whoohoo!”

And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:39 (New American Standard Bible)


  1. My wife and I moved to Riverside, CA last November from Columbus, Ohio...we're Vineyard folk...And I was just talking to a friend out there who says that there used to be a 'Dave Workman Band' in Columbus years ago. Are you the fammed Dave Workman?

  2. 'Fraid not. That Dave was a blues guitarist in the Columbus-area way back when. I was a drummer for a Christian band in the early '80's called Prodigal. We played really loud music (I still hear ringing), traveled like crazy (U.S. and Canada), made three of those big vinyl things called records with an indie label out of Orland (connected with Full Sail), and starved to death (okay, not literally).

    But it was fun...

  3. Since it's all about ths music - is the gentleman speaking this weekend the man who produced records for Muddy Waters, UFO, The Incredible String Band and classic Pink Floyd? I think he may have even done some work with Eric Clapton and Hendrix.

    Gotta go dust off my Dark Side of the Moon "CD".


  4. Hey Tabitha,

    It's Joe Boyd. To quote Dave, "Fraid not." The other "Joe Boyd" and I have spent the last several years being confused with each other a result we've become name sake e-mail buddies. He's a good guy. His official website is if you want to see more about him.


    the other Joe Boyd

  5. Joe - thanks for writing back. That's neat that you two e-mail each other and even cooler that you had Hendrix playing on your way to the stage.

    You did a great job today and I left thinking about Desiree. What happened to her after she gave her life to Christ?