About Paul Siddall

 

 FROM HIPPIE FREAK

TO JESUS FREAK!

EVANGELIST PAUL SIDDALL’S BEGINNINGS

In the summer of 1975, I experienced something I had never felt before. I “felt” Christ. I had felt “Purple Haze” before. And like Jimi Hendrix, I knew what felt l to have, “Reaching veins that don’t feel the same.” I had felt “Panama Red” and the affects of 714 Quaaludes. But I had never believed was it  possible to actually experience a “felt” Christ. Nevertheless it happened one late summer afternoon, after God used my curiosity to lure me into reading the entire New Testament for myself. To my surprise, I found Jesus obstinately shared the same qualms against religion I did. For example, in John’s Gospel he walks into the temple of organized religion and throws a spiritual hand-grenade on religion’s money making tactics. He’s against religiousness, especially when people think praying the same prayer over and over again, somehow impresses God. He speaks out against hypocrisy. He hates it when religious folks try to remove a sliver in someone else’s eye and yet they have a plank in their own. He’s against exclusionism, bigotry, and prejudice.

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But not only that; He was for the things I was for. He soon developed a reputation for hanging with “party people.” He likes the people religion hates. He goes to the “least.” He endorses the “last.” He restores the “lost.” In fact, as I continued to read, I not only liked this Jesus, I was beginning to love Him!

This was not the Jesus I learned in catechism class. That Jesus was more like a book-keeper. No, the first thing I learned about Jesus, when I read the New Testament for myself was this: Jesus is not Santa Claus! He comes to the world with no lists to check, no tests to grade, no debts to collect, or scores to settle. He “wipes out every handwriting ordinance against us by nailing it to the cross.” He rises from the dead and promises to raise us up with Him too. He emphatically states that in his absence, the promise of the Father will be sent-the Holy Spirit, and He will be “felt,” for, “ His Spirit will bear witness to our spirit we are the children of God “ (Romans 8:16).
As I came to the end of the last chapter of the New Testament, I was already cognitive of the fact I had become a believer. I was already convinced the words I had been reading were of God. But I had not yet prayed. I had read, but not once uttered a word of prayer. The moment of truth had arrived. These last words of the New Testament seemed to have both feet and hands running out to me reaching inside my heart and pulling me in: “And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely…He who testifies to these things says, ’Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:17-20). With that, I closed my Bible, and said, “Even so,” I then looked up to heaven, and confessed, “Jesus, I believe in You now. I believe everything I’ve read about You – that You died for my sins and rose again and in You alone I have life.” At that moment, I unmistakably felt Christ. And, like the woman at the well, who from the start of her first encounter with Christ; I became an “EVANGELIST.” That calling has manifested itself in many different ways, from travelling as an itinerant preacher, to pastoring in numerous churches, or being on staff at a counseling center. But the emphasis of that call has always remained the same: to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, not the bad news of religion; and to equip others to do the same.

By His Grace ALONE, Paul Siddall

*Currently Paul is Senior Pastor of GRACE of GOD FELLOWSHIP in TUCSON, AZ

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He is an ordained minister through Grace Communion International (gci.org) and accountable to the spiritual leadership oversight of GCI.

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The Cave Group