by Bobby Davis
We’ve heard hundreds of life-changing stories from 3ABN viewers and listeners—the alcoholic whose satellite dish got stuck on 3ABN, the homeless couple who found 3ABN on a tiny black and white TV, the suicidal man watching 3ABN who hears the presenter speak words from God directly to him. Bob Eads has a story like this, too.
Bob started out as a very sick little boy. His chronic asthma stunted his growth so severely that he weighed just 37 pounds by the time he was seven. And after a specialist warned his parents that they’d better move to a dry, warmer climate or prepare to bury their son, they moved from Nebraska to southern California. But while his health improved remarkably, other things would soon stunt his spiritual growth.
A Rough Beginning
“As nominal Presbyterians, we basically went to church for Christmas, Easter, funerals, and weddings,” Bob says. “And since Dad was basically an atheist, that’s what I became. My sister, however, remained in the church and prayed for me. I believe that’s the only reason I’m alive today!”
A neighborhood boy introduced Bob to cigarettes when he was six, and by the time he was nine, he was smoking every day. “The same thing happened with alcohol,” he adds. “Our parents would gather with friends on weekends to play poker and have some beers, and we’d beg until they’d let us have a sip. By the time I was in high school I was getting alcohol any way I could.”
Two weeks after graduation, young Bob joined the Navy on the promise that it would get him out of a scrape with the law, but by the next year he’d added marijuana to the list of his addictions.
“My addictions just kept getting worse until my life mostly consisted of sitting around with a beer in one hand, and a joint or a pill in the other,” he says.
After his three-year stint in the Navy, Bob moved to South Carolina where he met 17-year-old Alice. “Her parents were serious alcoholics, so she was looking for a way out of their house,” he says. “We got married and had a son together, but she drank and smoked as much as I did. We’d often run out of money to even buy diapers for our baby.”
When his marriage ended, Bob moved back to California, eventually landing a job running a high-speed printing press. However, his addictions came with him.
“By 1977 I was using alcohol, cigarettes, and pot on a daily basis,” he says. “I was also regularly using hash, cocaine, and amphetamines—and I picked up an addiction to pornography, too. I’m sad to say that I couldn’t see anything was wrong. I honestly thought my life was normal.”
Removing the Chains
But God was busy behind the scenes, like when He gave Bob victory over tobacco. “I came down with ‘walking pneumonia,’ and the doctor threatened to check me into the hospital if I didn’t quit smoking,” he says. “So I put cigarettes down and never went back, but I never gave God credit for that victory. I claimed it myself.”
As his drinking and drug use progressed, he found it more difficult to keep a job and would quit just before he got fired. Moving back to Valentine, Nebraska, he lived with his grandfather and even made friends with some reputable people in town. But this just kept him in denial.
“I thought I looked pretty good to the outside world because I had a job detailing cars, and a part-time job at a liquor store (to support my alcohol addiction). I had my stereo and my drugs. What else did I need?
“But one day reality set in. I’d racked up $14,000 in credit card debt, and I wasn’t going anywhere in life. I felt completely trapped! So I called my part-time job, and told my boss I didn’t want to drink anymore. He even refunded my money for the two cases of beer I’d just bought! Soon after that I quit that job, and even gave up all the drugs. But I still wouldn’t give God the credit—and I also still had my addiction to pornography. It had gotten worse after I bought a large satellite dish. I was recording movies 24 hours a day, returning home every six hours to change videotapes. I was obsessed, and it was killing me!”
The Grace of God
But God hadn’t forgotten His suffering child, and one night Bob found himself on the couch, bored and restless. “I was clicking through 500 channels of garbage on satellite hoping to find something, anything to make me feel better—and that’s when Jesus found me!
“As I clicked onto 3ABN, Pastor Doug Batchelor was speaking about I don’t remember what, but it fascinated me! When the program was over, this other religious stuff came on, so I quickly turned the dish away from that satellite. But the next night I wanted more, so I began looking for Doug but never saw him again until two weeks later, when I found a half-page ad in the satellite guide for his live seminar, Millennium of Prophecy. I watched every program, and because of what I was learning, it wasn’t long before I was trying to figure out how I could return my tithe—and what to do with the $40 of pork in my freezer!”
Bob had no thoughts of joining a church until Pastor Doug asked, “Does it make any sense to be a fully trained ball player and refuse to join a team?” So he called 3ABN and discovered there was an Adventist church just six blocks away.
During the Millennium series Bob called in several questions, two of which Pastor Doug answered on the air, mentioning his first name and his town. But what Bob didn’t know was that the whole Valentine Adventist Church was watching in the sanctuary each night, and when they heard that someone named Bob had called in from their town, they were dumbfounded!
“A couple of months later I walked into the church feeling very nervous, ” Bob says. “But when they asked if I was the Bob that had called in questions for Pastor Doug’s series, they got really excited!”
Bob buried his past in the waters of baptism in January 1998. “I’ve never looked back,” he says, tears welling up in his eyes. “After my baptism I felt like I was floating two feet off the carpet. I was home! I had God in my heart!”
The pastor had the responsibility for three churches, so he’d often ask members to fill in for him. When he asked Bob, he said he didn’t feel comfortable preaching, but he would bring in a sermon from one of his favorite 3ABN pastors. That Sabbath the congregation watched a Doug Batchelor sermon—on the same (thoroughly erased) videotape that had once contained pornography!
Bob met his second wife through a friend from church, and ironically she was also named Alice. “She’s the love of my life, and we met online through an Adventist-owned matching service,” he explains.
There were other changes, too. Bob lost 70 pounds by changing his eating habits and riding his bicycle. Before he was baptized, he’d also made a decision to keep the Sabbath and was rewarded with a better job and a better salary. But he longed to do more for Jesus, and with his wife’s encouragement, he became a literature evangelist bringing Christ-centered literature and Bible studies to all who would accept.
After ten-and-a-half years of work in this field, Bob and Alice came to 3ABN to volunteer. Alice now works in 3ABN’s programming department, and what does Bob do? “I never dreamed I’d someday volunteer as a cameraman for the very network that changed my life,” he says. “What a privilege to work for the Lord—and what a thrill to be able to do it right here at 3ABN!”
Bob is a changed man. The power of God runs deep!