Andrew Palau: The Secret Life of a Fool
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CBN.com -THE SECRET LIFE OF A FOOL
Andrew Palau is the son of international evangelist Luis Palau and has become an evangelist in his own right. He grew up in a godly family with two faithful parents who were amazing role models for him and his three brothers, in a highly regarded church that provided a strong backbone of faith. However, Andrew did not accept the Lord at an early age. It took him twenty-seven years before he made a commitment to Jesus Christ. In the interim, he turned his back on God and pursued a selfish, destructive path. He started taking drugs and drinking as an adolescent and increased his use of them as he got older. For inexplicable reasons he just wanted to live for himself with no intention of slowing down. Then, after years of running from God Andrew ran to Him. After his conversion, he promised God he would tell everyone what He did. Almost immediately he shared his testimony in large groups.
Over the years, many people have encouraged Andrew to write his testimony in a book. He finally felt that the time was right to do it. The main reasons he wanted to write, The Secret Life of a Fool, are to share the Gospel and encourage other Christians to never give up. The book starts out with the remarkable account of Andrew and his family surviving a plane crash in December 2009. The Palaus were visiting Andrew's wife's family in Jamaica for the Christmas holidays. As their plane was landing, it skidded off the runway and crashed. Miraculously, all 154 people on board survived with only minor injuries. He shares this story to show that life is like a vapor and as another major example of what God has done in his life. We are all looking for somewhere to fit, to excel. All we like sheep have gone astray. He hopes different parts of his story might capture something in a reader’s life and help them.
Andrew says his rebellious attitude set in early. It didn’t take him long to wander away from his upbringing. He did not listen to the lessons he was being taught. He also avoided and resisted God as much as possible. Andrew says he really didn’t have a reason or excuse to rebel. Also, he doesn’t know where the insatiable desire to please others came from, but it drove him to act out. He wanted to impress people all the time and he was looking for a place to fit and excel. It wasn’t enough for Andrew to be thought of as “okay.” He wanted to be thought of as exceptional, whether it was partying, rebelling or just acting crazy. His brothers were quiet and studious and all came to the Lord at early ages. They would laugh at Andrew and his antics. Andrew says his mother was more worried about his quiet brothers than him because they knew what he was going to do but didn’t know what quiet brothers would do. When he would go to youth camp he would ask himself, "What am I doing with my life?"
In junior high and high school, Andrew would lie about the things he and his friends were doing. On youth group ski trips he and his friends would sneak flasks of liquor and weed on the chairlift. Andrew would know how to say the right things so people wouldn’t know his heart was “adrift” spiritually. His misadventures later included getting stoned three times a day in high school, going on a four-day bender when he turned twenty-one in college leaving his family to wonder where he was, and becoming a stowaway on a ship trying to get home from Europe. Through all his rebellion and no matter how much his actions embarrassed them, Andrew says his parents always kept relationship with him. He describes his behavior as being a walking contradiction. Andrew wanted to be able to heckle the old lady but still be thought of “nice enough” to get the girl. He made conscious decisions to keep “perfecting his decadent way.” Andrew says the crazy thing was that he was still the kid that every parent wanted his/her children to hang out with. His mask was good - his and his friends’ behavior seemed fine and they weren’t committing crimes. Later, he attended the University of Oregon where the party life was a large part of his studies. After graduating with a degree in English literature, Andrew moved to Boston where he worked in retail for five years at the May Company.
When Andrew was 27 in 1993, his father was speaking at a crusade in Jamaica and invited him to come for vacation. His parents saw ministry, he saw party. But it was on this trip that God revealed Himself to Andrew, who says his life has never been the same. The Palaus were staying with the Levy family, friends of Andrew’s father. Andrew saw the testimony of the Levy family and their friends. In them he saw that the Christian life is transforming. It can be full of fun and joy. He saw that Christians can make an impact on their communities and they can enjoy each other and outsiders. The idea of an abundant life started to make sense to him. At night, he was also hearing the Words of God through his father during the meetings. God’s Words “pounded in his heart.” On the final night of the crusade, Andrew really wanted God’s gift of salvation. That night, he committed ending his drug and alcohol use for good, end inappropriate relationships, and even go to church. The next day everyone returned to their homes.
After the trip to Jamaica with his parents, Andrew tried to live his new life in God but found he was slipping back into his old life. Not long after that, an invitation to return to Jamaica from the Levy’s daughter, Wendy, would help him find his way back again.
His first week on his return trip to Jamaica was very much a vacation. After that, he went with Wendy’s brother, Chris, and his friend, Steve on a trip to Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. During this trip, Andrew’s old understanding of God diminished. He had an understanding of God in a more personal way - that He was alive and near, a present-God. Also, Andrew realized that God in His holiness (which is His nature) could not have a relationship with a human whose nature was unrepentant and living a life cluttered by sin, which was how Andrew was living. Andrew wanted all of the good things of God and he was waiting for Him to “do something.” However, his obstacle to God was himself. God showed Andrew all the junk in his life. Andrew felt overwhelmed and asked God to forgive him. He found himself confessing all his sins to God, act by act, and receiving forgiveness. After this cleansing process, Andrew felt tremendous joy. Then, he told God he would tell everyone what He had done for him. God responded, “Yes, you will.” The doors to share his story opened right away and Andrew has been going on ever since.
SALVATION AND BEYOND
In 1994, Andrew became his father’s personal assistant at Luis Palau Association. In 1999, Andrew was vital in recreating the crusade model for evangelism for his father’s festivals. The first two festivals were staged in the Palaus’ home base of Portland, Oregon before moving to other locations in the U.S. Now Andrew preaches at his own festivals around the world from the United States to Rwanda, Romania, Egypt, Mexico, India, Poland, and Jamaica. He has shared the Gospel with millions of people with his own passion and love for Christ and for evangelism that has been equated with his father’s. In 2009, he joined his father on his radio feature, Reaching Your World with Luis Palau. Andrew’s two-minute messages are broadcast on 855 radio outlets every Friday. Andrew married Wendy and they have three children. They reside in Portland, Oregon, close to the main world headquarters of the Palau ministry.
It has been eighteen years since Andrew made his commitment to Jesus. He found peace when he stopped striving to fulfill some unspoken measurement of success. Andrew says when he truly started walking with God his purpose in life was simplified. Now, his purpose revolves around Him. The more intimate Andrew’s relationship with God is, the more his goals and plans have been shaped into His.
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