Gill said he thought the voice was putting him on. Illusions? Really? He worked at a sawmill.
"To me, it was just the most ridiculous thing. How was I supposed to make a living? I had zero concept."
Soon after, though, a friend showed him a couple of simple magic tricks he'd picked up. Gill was so impressed he began studying illusions himself. He went back to college.
"I practiced for seven or eight months," he said. "I quit my job and started getting bookings."
He performed at churches as part of an evangelical outreach. It was ministry first, entertainment second. The first show, Gill said, was terrible.
"The next show was almost as bad and so was the next one, but then I wasn't so bad. I got better. After a few shows, it was OK.
"I never worked [a regular job] again," he said.
That was 15 years ago, and while the magic has gotten better, the message remains the same, and just as important as it's always been.
"I build routines that are entertaining," Gill said, "but when I get to talk about the reason for living, I get to show faith. It's an agenda.
His form of entertainment, he said, is really no different from what everyone else is doing on the tour or what most performers anywhere are doing. Performers, whether they admit to it or whether their fans know it, communicate messages. They have agendas.
Gill is just more upfront about it.
Of course, his particular act is more death defying than what most performers will confront during your average rock 'n' roll show.
"Well, they stage dive, don't they?" Gill laughed.
Still, he doesn't see what he does -- placing himself in risky situations -- as tempting God.
"I think me and God have a pretty good relationship," he said. "I feel this is what he wants me to do. I think it's like skydiving. To me, going skydiving without a parachute, that would be tempting God."
On stage, he knows where his parachute is. And he trusts in God.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.