There are few things more removed from each other than dropping acid with Charles Manson and preaching the Gospel around the world. Our guest Bill Davis has done both, and he shares his story of transformation from a man haunted by addiction to one forgiven and loved by God.

Who is Bill Davis? Bill has been an itinerant minister for over 30 years, but his life before that looked much different. The son of a Florida police detective, Bill’s rebellious nature got him discharged early from the Air Force and catapulted him into a life of drugs and crime. While in the L.A. County Jail facing 11 life sentences for armed robbery, Bill did acid with Charles Manson, a man who convinced Bill that there was a devil. He also met a man named Arthur who wouldn’t give up on him. Arthur prayed for Bill, visited Bill, and even went so far as to beg the judge for a lesser sentence, explaining that Bill had a calling on his life to preach. In a stunning turn of events, the judge — known for handing down harsh sentences — gave Bill a year in county jail and dropped all the charges. That still wasn’t enough for Bill to turn to God, and it took another miracle at a roadside Christian coffeehouse that finally brought Bill to his knees in repentance.

Since his dramatic transformation from a life of crime to a follower of Jesus in 1972, Bill has been traveling around the world with his wife Darlene, sharing the miracle that is Christ’s forgiveness and encouraging others to shed their shame and walk in the light of Christ’s love.


“He said ‘It doesn’t matter what your flesh has done: you can be a thief, a drug addict, an ex-con, a bank robber.’ I qualified for all of them. The next thing I knew, I was on my knees repenting and asking Jesus to forgive me. And to my absolute surprise, I was forgiven. And I’ve known that every day since, that I am a forgiven man.” — Bill

“Arthur came to see me in jail and said that God had called me to preach. I laughed and told him that I was going to prison in California for the rest of my life.” — Bill

“We decided it was time to put our faith in action. I stepped out and began to be an assistant pastor for no pay. She quit her job at the bank. We’ve been trusting God ever since.” — Bill

“We said ‘Let’s believe God.’ Within a week, I had nine invitations to come and speak places.” — Bill

Action Steps:

  • Trying to get a spouse on board with your Bold Idea? Find out where you can agree with our spouse and focus your energy there.
  • God meets us right where we are, giving us the grace to do the bold idea that He has for us. Don’t believe that your shyness, your introversion, your past, your anger, or anything about you will keep God from using you for His glory. God is relentlessly going to pursue us.
  • The simple acts of obedience that we have on a daily basis are what influence others for Christ when we aren’t even paying attention. It’s hard work to be obedient at this unseen level, but it is important.
  • How would your life be different if you believed today that the BIble is true? The grace, the forgiveness, the power of following Christ… what would change about your life and your bold idea?

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