(Photo by Lauren Bullock, courtesy Luis Palau Association)
By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
EUGENE— There’s just no comparison between his troubled years in college here, and his wonderful life today, Portland-based international evangelist Andrew Palau told the crowd at his stadium outreach July 28.
What made the big difference? Concluding his foolish years of rebellion by turning his life over to God a quarter-century ago at age 27, he explained.
“We want everyone to know our lives have been transformed by Jesus Christ,” he said at University of Oregon’s PK Park, site of CityFest with Andrew Palau.
With a passionate, energetic message, Palau shared his life story and invited his audience to join him in following Christ. Hands were raised throughout the stadium in agreement.
In planning for more than a year, the afternoon and evening festival drew an estimated 9,500 enthusiastic attenders who also heard musical acts Toby Mac, Rend Collective and Tedashii; saw skate, BMX and motocross stunts; and had fun with kids’ activities despite very hot weather.
Earlier in the evening, Palau was joined briefly on stage by his father, famed evangelist Luis Palau, who confirmed that his son’s memory of having wasted time partying as a UO student was indeed accurate.
“I knew he was here because I paid the bills, but whether he studied, I’m not certain,” Luis quipped.
The elder Palau is currently battlling stage 4 lung cancer and he received special prayer on stage from Steve Buss, executive director of the local One Hope church and ministry network that has worked closely with the Palau team to develop the festival.
During his message, Andrew said it was good to be back in Eugene, because it reminded him of how dramatically his life has changed from the dark times he brought on himself as a rebellious young man caught up in drinking, drugs and self-deception.
“How I wish I would have turned my heart to God when I was a younger man,” he said.
Palau said the abundant life he now wants to share includes freedom from the guilt and shame of the past, God’s presence and help in the present, and the promise of eternal life.
“Other people might tell you to go to hell, I’m telling you to go to heaven!” he exclaimed as the crowd applauded in response.