17 Apr “Only Believe!”
There is an old song, “Only Believe, All Things are Possible.” Do you remember that chorus? It is a slow chorus, but people used to sing it with great fervency. We saw God move powerfully in those days. We even prayed that all the victims of the Silver Dollar Saloon, in Central Valley, California would no longer be infected by that evil place. After I left Central Valley, CA, I was informed that the Silver Dollar Saloon had burnt to the ground.
I had a particular reason for not liking that saloon. One of the men in the church had been a victim of that place. It wasn’t all the saloon’s fault, but the men were working on Shasta Dam nearby, putting in one of the largest dams in the USA. Barney would get off work on Friday after a hard week as a construction worker in that era called, the Depression Days. He would go immediately to the bar and drink all weekend, without going home. Then, if he had any money left after his booze party, he would stumble home. He would give his wife what money was left so she could feed the kids, then stumble back to another hard week working on the dam.
An evangelist came to town. Barney’s wife attended the little AG church, so the pastor went down to Silver Dollar Saloon and pulled Barney out of the bar. He informed Barney that a revival had come to town, and he was especially invited to church! For some reason, Barney accepted that invitation. He went to church and heard the evangelist. After the service, the pastor told Barney, “It is time for you to get saved. Let’s go to the altar. Now, kneel down Barney!” Barney was not a church goer, but he knelt down. The pastor led him in a prayer of repentance. Barney was congratulated! “You just got saved!” “I did?” replied Barney. “Yes Sir, you are God’s man now!”
So Barney went back to the bar. “Hey, what’s happening, Barney?” said the bar tender. Barney put a big smile on his face, and replied, “Sit ‘em up, Joe! I jist got saved!” So, Barney treated everyone to a drink!
But something had happened to Barney. Right after that one drink with his pals, he decided to go home. He gave all his money to his wife. He didn’t know why, but he started attending church. There was one thing that made the difference! Vera, Barney’s wife, was a believer! She had prayed and believed for Barney for many years. She had declared, “Barney will serve Jesus. I just believe it.” With tears flowing down her cheeks she would sing, “Only believe … All things are possible.”
If you would have been with me when I pastored the Central Valley AG church, you would have seen Barney sitting on the floor between the pews weeping for the souls of children to be saved. Oh, and guess what? Barney never took another drink!