“Now you’re going to die.”
Bill Purvis wondered if those would be the last words he would ever hear. The man directly in front of him had a twisted grin and a nine-and-a-half-inch butcher knife. The man plunged the knife into Bill Purvis’ chest all the way through his back. He pulled the knife out and swept it across Bill’s neck, completely severing his jugular vein. In a frenzy of adrenaline and panic as Bill tried to escape the man stabbed him a third time in the liver.
The scene was like a horror movie — blood everywhere, and an equally horrifying plot — but it was actually happening.
Earlier that night, Bill and a friend picked up a prostitute and her pimp on the side of the road. While his friend waited in the car, Bill followed the woman into an abandoned house. He undressed with the lights off and waited with anticipation for his latest thrill. Moments later the lights switched on and the nightmare began. The man he assumed was the prostitute’s pimp was trying to kill him, and he almost succeeded.
Naked and covered in blood, Bill Purvis staggered down the street, strength fading and literally bleeding to death. He found a light pole in a parking lot and clung to it, and as he waited for death, he remembered a young man who had knocked on his door and told him, “Everything you’re looking for can be found in Jesus.”
“Help me. Save me! Jesus forgive my sins. Please save me!” Bill Purvis prayed his first prayer.
From Almost Death to Life
Bill’s friend who had been waiting in the car took him to the hospital a half-block away, where three trauma surgeons happened to be on call. Because of the extent and severity of his wounds, Bill they predicted would be dead before the operation even began. Against all odds, nearly twelve hours later Bill woke up miraculously alive, hooked up to machines but with the hope of a full recovery.
“That day changed my life. I awoke with a hunger and desire to know this Jesus who had answered my prayer,” Bill remembers. “I felt so unworthy, I didn’t deserve anything and still He saved me.”
Bill Purvis spent three weeks in the hospital, and he spent most of that time reading the Bible — something he had never done before. One of the nurses who was also a Christian spent time mentoring him, showing him Bible verses, asking questions, and explaining the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Bill’s life radically changed. He had spent the first 17 years of his life trying to find purpose — something to fill the emptiness he had from an extremely dysfunctional home.
“You just learn to live with it, it becomes your normal,“ Bill recalls.
When Bill realized Jesus had saved him from more than just dying, he went all out to find his purpose. He had a prayer closet long before war rooms were a cliché in Christian culture and spent hours intimately talking to God, tucked away in a closet sitting on a pillow.
Make a Break for It: The Power of Story
Fast-forward several years after his almost-death in April 1974 to Bill Purvis answering a call to ministry. He took lead of a small church with just 32 people in the pews on his first Sunday.
Today, over four decades later, you will find Bill leading people from the streets to the altar at Cascade Hills in Columbus, Georgia. The church has more than 8,000+ members, with 90% being previously unchurched. That’s even their tag line: “The church for the unchurched.”
Pastor Purvis’ heart is to reach those who don’t know the Gospel, and that’s why after 40 years Bill is still telling his story. Now it’s finally in print. Pastor Bill Purvis’ first book, “Make a Break for It: Unleashing the Power of Personal and Spiritual Growth,” tells Bill’s story and how God has changed his life since his almost-death.
In “Make a Break for It,” Bill shares practical applications to the Christian life, such as prayer strategies, quitting excuses that hold you back, how to find a mentor, and much more. “Make a Break for It” is designed to be a roadmap to help others break free from their past and move forward into their future in Jesus.
“This book is a tool, a story to open others up to the Gospel,” said Bill Purvis. “I always tell people — no one ever truly comes to Jesus because you argue them into it.”
“Make a Break for It” engages the reader in a can’t-put-it-down story. Let it start a conversation.
Now you’re going to live.