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Upcoming CityFest to Mingle Sports, Music, Kids’ Fun with Messages of Hope

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

CityFest Cutline No. 1Luis Palau has spoken to more than 30 million people in 75 countries.The Sept. 8-9 CityFest West Michigan promises to be an inspirational blend of liveliness.

Think of the two-day faith-based gala at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids as part heart-pounding concert, part sports derring-do, part kid-friendly amusement, with a healthy dose of a ageless human essential: the Gospel of hope.

In other words, CityFest is more of an emphasis on making it a festival than the crusades previous generations have known.

Admission is free and the start time is 3 p.m. for both days.

Music, action sports, family fun and significance

CityFest is produced by the Portland, Oregon-based Luis Palau Association.

The festival includes performances by music artists Lecrae, TobyMac, Mandisa, Danny Gokey, Mac Powell and The Afters.

CityFest Cutline No. 2Andrew Palau also will deliver a message of hope.Action sports will showcase BMX and freestyle motocross demos.

A Family Fun Zone will feature Veggie Tales, play areas, and stage entertainment for children, including face painting and bounce houses.

And then, evangelist Luis Palau and his son Andrew will deliver a message of hope both nights.

Partnering with more than area 400 churches

CityFest's two-fold mission is to unite churches — called One West Michigan, a component of CityFest with Luis and Andrew Palau — and share the good news of Jesus Christ, said Levi Park, director of campaigns for the United States.

CityFest Cutline No. 3Yes, there will be BMX stunts."About a year and a half ago a group of leaders got together in the Grand Rapids area to unify the churches," said Park. "They had been tracking with what Luis Palau does around the world ... and they sent an invitation to the association to partner for the next year to bring as many churches as possible," said Park.

"Now we're going into the that moment of the actual festival happening and around 435 churches and organizations are officially involved in this endeavor."

Andrew Palau is one of four of Luis Palau's sons who fell "kind of wayward," earlier in his life according to Park. Andrew will share how Christ transformed his life wrestling with drug and alcohol abuse.

Then there's the Argentina-born Luis Palau, whom the Association is named after. Luis Palau moved to Portland when he was in his mid-20s to enroll in a biblical studies program.

Palau and his ministry have shared the message of Jesus with hundreds of millions of people through evangelistic events and media around the world.

Since 1999, more than 8 million people have attended Palau festivals on five continents.

Luis Palau has spoken in person to more than 30 million people in 75 countries. His festivals have produced massive audiences in cities from south Florida to South America. His radio broadcasts in both English and Spanish are heard by millions on 5,000 radio outlets in 48 countries.

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Luis also hosts Luis Palau Responde, an international Q&A program in Spanish, and Reaching Your World, a devotional style program emphasizing biblical wisdom. He has authored close to 50 books, contributed articles on issues of faith to countless publications and counseled business leaders, political leaders and heads of state around the world.

Ties to Billy Graham

Luis Palau had a long and close relationship with the late Rev. Bill Graham. Some have characterized Palau as Graham's successor.

Not first stop to Grand Rapids

This is not Palau's first stop in the Grand Rapids area, but it potentially could be his last.

His inaugural crusade was in 1994 at the Whitecaps baseball stadium.

Cancer diagnosis earlier this year

On Jan. 18 of this year, Palau posted on Facebook page that he has stage four lung cancer.

"He saw his dad die when he was 10 years old and that really made an impression on his life," said Park. "And now he's in that situation and I think he's going to speak on what happens when we face eternity."


Photos courtesy Luis Palau Association.

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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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