International evangelist Luis Palau has encouraged Christian parents to instill biblical principles in their children from the earlier years, citing the Word of God as the “key” to bringing wayward kids back to Christ.
In a message delivered at the two-day virtual Promise Keepers 2020 Men's Conference, Luis and Andrew Palau, leaders of the Luis Palau Association, shared how Scripture memorization and a faithful witness contributed to Andrew’s conversion as a young adult.
Before Andrew was born, Luis Palau’s mother told him his unborn son would be the “next evangelist.”
“I took it seriously as from the Lord because she was a godly woman,” Luis, known as the Billy Graham of Latin America, said. “She was a prayerful woman.”
But while Andrew was a “good son,” “he didn't know Jesus Christ and we knew that,” Luis said.
“My wife used to say, ‘If he's got feathers like a bird, if he flies like a bird, if he chirps like a bird, he’s a bird, and Andrew is not a child of God,’” he recalled. “People were shocked when she would say that, but she would say, ‘No, but he will be someday,’ and he was.”
When Andrew was working across the country, Luis would send him letters — and each one included a Bible verse.
“Every letter had a Bible verse and I really drove it home,” Luis said. “I remember saying to the Lord, ‘Lord, what do I tell Andrew? I mean, he knows the Gospel, but what do I tell him? And I felt the Lord saying to me, ‘Just remind him that God has a plan and a purpose.’ So I often used to say, 'Andrew, God has a plan for your life, and it's got to be glorious because it's of God.'”
At 27 years old, Andrew embraced Christianity after hearing his father preach at an evangelistic event in Kingston, Jamaica.
“For the 1,000th time, I heard about the cross and the spirit and the promise of eternity and a purpose for living. And it was God's time for me,” Andrew said. “Dad has helped me to grow since then.”
Today, Andrew preaches at his own festivals around the world, from the United States to Rwanda, Romania, Egypt, Mexico, India, Poland, and Jamaica.
Andrew referred to Luis as not only his “physical, human father,” but also his “spiritual father.”
“In the face of 27 years of my rebellion against God and the ways of the family, dad and mom ... prayed for me faithfully and then they lived the life. Their testimony was sound and strong. Not perfect, but that testimony was so powerful to me as a young man.”
“When everything else failed me, and it will, and it does, there they stood, sound, full of peace and joy. They shared with me the Good News because they knew that's the power of God unto salvation. They didn't want me to just be a good boy, and be more obedient to them and stop crashing their cars ... but they wanted me to become a man of God. They knew the Good News was the transforming power for that to take place in my life.
“They never gave up."
Luis stressed that the Word of God is the “key” to raising children who know and love the Lord.
“It has power,” he said. “So when you teach your son and try to implant biblical truth, remember to work on memory work, Bible verses. That will never go away ... plant the Word of God. It’s the powerful dynamite.
“Stick by your son, even if he's not walking with the Lord or he may not know the Lord. Love him just like God the Father loves you. He doesn't reject you because you smoke a cigarette or drank three beers. The Lord won't do that. He just won't reject you.”
He added: “The Lord has used Andrew to lead many to Christ, but all of those principles we planted in him when he was a boy, all the way through his teenage years, and even when he was a young adult, whether he liked or not.
“Your son, your daughter can lead people to Jesus Christ if you plant biblical principles in their heart. Plant the seed in your children, evangelize, win people to Christ. You'll have no regrets at the end of your life."
The Promise Keepers 2020 Men's Conference - Virtual Event was held July 31-Aug. 1. Speakers included Pastors Tony Evens, Mark Batterson, John Gray, and others, with worship led by Phil Wickham, Danny Gokey, and Michael W. Smith. Topics included marriage and restoration, making disciples, seeking justice, building a legacy, and fatherhood.