Monday, October 29, 2018

William Tyndale and the English Bible


William Tyndale, Persecuted Bible Translator

"The most important printed book in the English language" is what the British Library called one of the last remaining original William Tyndale New Testaments when they bought it!


They purchased it for a little over a million British Pounds a couple decades ago, and thus Tyndale’s New Testament was added to the British Library's already illustrious collection, which included such notable works like the Gutenberg Bible.

William Tyndale made the first translation of the New Testament into the English language from the original Greek in the early 1500’s. He also translated major parts of the Old Testament.

However, as the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,” and Tyndale paid dearly, giving his own life for his effort to bring English speakers access to the Word of God in their own language.

The Reformation


This week on October 31st will be the 501st anniversary of the Reformation.

At this time last year, we had the blessing of not only being in Wittenberg, Germany for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, but also preached on the Reformation two days before in a church in Mandal, Norway.

We flew out a day later to Germany, where a quarter million people descended on the small town of Wittenberg, a little German town whose normal population in the city center—which everyone descended on—is only 2,100 people. We had a unique moment when we saw the country’s political leader coming in with a motorcade of cars, helicopters, and flashing lights, as we rode bicycles into the small downtown, one that boasts four Unesco World Heritage Sights on a single street, the only town in the world to have that. We figured the parking situation would be just impossible—it was—and we thanked the Lord for giving us a bit of insight and wisdom to rig up some rental bikes beforehand. Even though we had to ride twenty miles each way, it was well worth it!

501-Year Anniversary


This is a good time to reflect on the far-reaching impact of that Reformation that spread out from Wittenberg after the shaking that followed Luther’s posting his Ninety-Five Theses on the Castle Church door on October 31st.


The Reformation Spreads


For years, Germany was the engine fueling the Reformation, as Scholar David Daniell describes about the early period of the Reformation: “Germany was the powerhouse while England had nothing going.”

Over time, Martin Luther went from being labeled the “scourge of Christendom” to later having something akin to celebrity-like status. As time rolled forward, other scholars and leaders joined arms in returning to, and promoting more of a New Testament-based Christianity.

Although England lagged far behind, undercurrents of reform began to make their way across the channel and into the country.

Erasmus of Rotterdam had been promoting New Testament-based ideas at Cambridge University. Meanwhile, Luther’s influence began to make its way across the channel and sparked interest there as well. In time, Cambridge became known as a “little Wittenberg” and “little Germany” because of the growing influence of reform, and Lutheran, and New Testament, based ideas and influences being discussed and promoted there.


William Tyndale and The English Bible


As a Catholic priest, William Tyndale, like Luther, had experienced a conversion to Christ, which caused him to truly understand Christ’s grace and turn from just practicing religion to a true relationship with Christ. His thought and preaching subsequently moved into a reformed and evangelical direction.

He also was very influenced by Martin Luther, eventually leaving Oxford where he had been studying, as he found it was by and large resistant to the reformed waves moving through the land. As it happened, the Constitutions of Oxford held a decree—enforced throughout the land of England—that the Bible must only be in Latin, and forbade the Bible from being translated into the common, vernacular, English language of the people, on pain of being punished as a heretic: death by being burned at the stake!

As was the case in those days, few knew Latin, it was already a long dead language and the clergy were as ignorant of it and the New Testaments contents as was any commoner: William Warham, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in that day, complained that the monks were wholly ignorant of what the Bible, and especially of what the New Testament, contained. Most did not even know how many commandments Moses came down the mountain with—10 in case you are wondering, nor who was the author of the Lord’s Prayer—Jesus, of course—or where it might be found in the Bible, or if it was even in the Bible. A noted case had a monk ignorantly defending his dalliances, saying he thought that the Word commanded adultery when he was caught doing just so. Scholar David Daniell points out that the Bible might as well have been in Chinese for all the sense it made keeping it in Latin.

This position at Oxford University was one that would not be appreciated by a future Bible translator like Tyndale. Oxford’s unbending hold on this position, influenced by medieval Catholicism, would put Oxford on the wrong side of history, leaving it in the very lame historical position of having been a firm resistor of one of Britain’s greatest contributions in history to the English-speaking world.

Tyndale moved on from Oxford to Cambridge which, as stated earlier, was becoming known as a “Little Wittenberg” for its embrace and discussion of Martin Luther's reformed New Testament-based ideas. The White Horse Inn at Cambridge was a hotbed of Reformation discussions. Reform was in the air and spreading throughout parts of Europe, and even though England was a bit late to the game, many were beginning to embrace it.

Tyndale saw the need for a Bible in English, especially the New Testament, as translated from the original Greek. It should be noted that, roughly a century prior, John Wycliffe had made a valiant attempt to translate the Bible into English, but had only the use of the Latin Vulgate as his basis, as he had no access in those days to the fully assembled Greek manuscripts. Besides being inaccessible due to being in Latin, another problem, according to Erasmus, was that the Vulgate was full of errors.

Moreover, another huge technological advance had come forth in the interim: Gutenberg invented the printing press around the mid 1400’s. Wycliffe’s Bibles, in contrast, had to be copied individually by hand, a very slow and painstakingly long process.

Much of Wycliffe’s translated Bibles, and followers too, who were known as the Lollards, were rounded up and burned. Bibles, as well as men and women and children, were burned at the stake for desiring to know God’s Word. In fact, there is a noted case of a woman and her children all being burned at the stake for just having a copy of The Lord’s Prayer in her home, not really what you would call a concern to promote the Kingdom of God. This was an activity that was all too common for the Catholic institution!

Erasmus of Rotterdam, Dutch scholar, pre-Reformer, and Christian humanist, had been disgusted by the errors of the Catholic Latin Vulgate. In his own opinion, the Catholic Latin Vulgate was so riddled with errors and mistranslations that it was laughable. Furthermore, few knew or could read Latin, as it had been a dead language for a long time and only the highly educated learned how to read it. All of this, along with Catholic prohibitions against common people reading or possessing the Scriptures, kept the truth of God’s Word in the dark.

Erasmus set out to correct this and make a new Latin translation. But in order to be able to do this, he had to also assemble a complete Greek text, publishing this groundbreaking work in 1516. It was his Greek text, however, that much like Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, that turned out to be an accidental revolution. Erasmus’ assembly of the Greek New Testament into a comprehensive, accessible whole, gave reformers like Martin Luther and William Tyndale the ability to make a fresh translation of the New Testament into their respective native, vernacular tongues.

Luther’s translation made the Bible accessible to all Germans, whether educated or uneducated, rich or poor, noble or peasant, as did Tyndale for the English-speaking world.

In fact, Tyndale stated on one occasion to an educated man who held the laws of the pope and the Catholic Church higher than God’s Word: “…I defy the pope and all his laws…If God spare my life many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough, shall know more of the Scriptures than thou.”

Both Luther and Tyndale set out to make the Word of God to be available as never before and changing history in its wake. In fact, many of the advancements in the western world can be tied back to these very roots!


Tyndale Rearranges His Life to Fulfill His Purpose


Like Luther, Tyndale had seen the need for the word of God to be put into the common tongue of the people. He set out to do just so, rearranging his life to that effort. He moved out from Cambridge to Little Sodbury, out in the country in Gloucestershire. There, staying with a benefactor, he could have time set aside to work on a translation of the New Testament into English.

He had attempted to get approval from higher-ups in the Church Institution but that turned out to be a fool’s errand and only brought him opposition and persecution. He engaged in many debates with Catholic priests and leaders regarding the Catholic errors, but this led to more persecution and he eventually left the area. Though he had been warned by others, he seemed to be a bit naïve to the serious anger and opposition he was rousing in the Catholic camp. (This naïveté could be seen as a blessing for who knows how strongly one will proceed if all the obstacles are understood from the beginning.)

He had a stint in London where he reached out to Tunstall, the Catholic Bishop of London, but was given the cold shoulder instead. Tunstall’s cold rejection would later turn to white hot anger. There was a serious resistance to the Bible being put into the English language and Catholic leaders like Thomas More and Tunstall strongly opposed it. The Bible in the English language would undercut the man-centered penitential system of Catholicism and it was a threat to the hordes of money made off the relic, indulgence, penitential, and purgatory-based racket of the Catholic Church. As the persecution worsened, Tyndale departed England for the European continent after he connected with a man named Monmouth who helped him to fund some of his efforts.

Tyndale knew that if people could read the New Testament for themselves, they could see that simple faith in Christ alone is what was necessary for salvation. Tyndale writes: “Repent and Believe the gospel...and begin life anew! And his Spirit shall dwell in thee and be strong in thee and his promises shall be given thee at the last…and all things forgiven for Christ’s blood sake…Commit yourself to Him without respect either of thy good deeds or thy bad, repentance and belief is all! Works count for nothing in Christ blood!”

David Daniell points out that the Catholic Church, however, would never permit a New Testament in English from the Greek because neither the seven sacraments, purgatory, relics, indulgences, holy water, nor all their lofty ceremonies, could be found there, which were chief supports of the church’s financial system.


Tyndale Crosses the Channel


Tyndale eventually went to Wittenberg, Germany, and there he spent some time with Martin Luther. After meeting with Luther, whose German translation was a great aid in Tyndale’s efforts, he persevered in completing his New Testament translation while on the European continent, the first copies being printed in Cologne, Germany.

Tyndale had his pocket-sized New Testaments smuggled into his homeland of Great Britain. The small size made them easier to hide, and they became a huge hit and were widely popular.

Tyndale’s Bible was having a huge impact, and as scholar David Daniell points out, there was a new energy hitting Northern Europe:

"This energy which affected every human life in northern Europe…was not the result of political imposition. It came from the discovery of the Word of God as originally written...in the language of the people! Moreover it could be read and understood without censorship by the church, or mediation through the church, as it was written to be read, as a coherent cross-referencing whole. Such reading produced a totally different view of everyday Christianity. The ceremonies... of Catholicism are not there, purgatory is not there, there is no aural confession, no penance. The Catholic church’s support of its wealth and power collapses. Instead there is simply individual faith in Christ as Savior, as found in Scripture, that, and only that, justifies the sinner."


Fury Rises Against God’s Word


Bishop Tunstall, incensed by the New Testaments invading the land, sought to buy up the Bibles to burn them. But the man he had paid secretly gave the money to Tyndale, who ended up printing three times as many with the money. Thus, three times as many came into the land.

When Thomas More, outraged that Bibles were flooding the country, enquired as to how Tyndale was funding his effort to bring in so many, was told that it was by the Bishop because the money he was paying to buy up and burn the Bibles was getting to Tyndale to print more.

Tunstall proceeded with his public burning of the Bibles he had bought, which resulted in much outrage by the public. The thought that a Bishop, an alleged spiritual leader, would burn Bibles, burn God’s very Word, was abhorrent to many.

The word of God continued to come in and change lives in spite of many attempts to stop it, to even burn it!


The Word Spreads but Tyndale Pays the Price


God’s Word was spreading as were sentiments towards reform, but the powers that be still railed against it.

Unfortunately, Tyndale himself was betrayed, hunted down and apprehended, and subsequently jailed and later strangled and burned at the stake in Belgium.

He gave his life for his effort to bring the Bible to the English-speaking population. He might be pleased to know that one of his last remaining Bibles has been called "The most important printed book in the English language” by the British Library. That is quite an honor really, and one deserved by having sacrificed so much to give the English-speaking world the Word of God.

David Daniell points out that 90% of the King James Version’s New Testament is Tyndale’s work. It was the basis used by the scholars assembled by King James and what they worked from and then revised in places. The vast majority was left exactly as Tyndale worded it, with phrases we still use today in the English language; to many scholars his huge impact on the English language outweighs that of Shakespeare.

Such a high price was paid by many a reformer for seeking to return the people to the Word of God. Tyndale’s dying words were a prayer: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” Three years later, the King of England ordered the Bible (with Tyndale’s New Testament and the Old Testament that had been translated by Tyndale and Coverdale) to be placed in all English churches that all people may read it!

It behooves us to notice the price paid by those who went before us to give us the Scriptures in our own language, and take time to read and study its pages, remembering there are still places in the world even today where the Bible is forbidden.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Ministry Update: Fall 2018

We recently returned from Canada where we had a very powerful time as we ministered in the Victoria area on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. We had blessed meetings the whole time and the Holy Spirit was pouring out in a glorious way! We had a couple meetings that just kept going late into the evening.


Sharing the Word at Victoria Miracle Cafe
in British Columbia, Canada.
The Holy Spirit filled and empowered many
during our time in British Columbia, Canada.
We hit the ground running after we got across the border. Just crossing the border was an unusual situation with lots of weird questions they kept hammering at us about guns—you’d suppose they think all Americans are armed to the teeth and toting an arsenal of weapons around. We were a little rattled after that late-night inquisition and ended up getting to bed really late.

The next morning did actually start off with a bang as there was some confusion as to what was the first meeting we would be preaching. Right as we were getting up, the pastor we were staying with got a text from another pastor wondering if we were on our way to his church to preach that morning.

There had been some miscommunication, so we suddenly—after a long night at the border and getting to bed very late—had to throw on our clothes and rush out the door and fly over to that church. Fly we did as our friend drove us very rapidly in his fast car at top speed to the church.

They were all sitting in there and waiting, repeatedly playing worship songs over and over, anticipating our arrival.

Though confusion and stress can sometimes get thrown into the mix through spiritual warfare, God can turn it around for good!

We had to completely rely on the Holy Spirit as we rushed in, with no message prepared, lacking coffee, and sufficient food. Feeling thrown in the deep end with our clothes on, we just pressed into the Holy Spirit and the message the Lord gave us on the spot set the tone for the rest of our time ministering in Victoria: “God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.

These type of situations that are challenging when you’re lacking sleep, food, and preparation, can force total reliance on the Holy Spirit and are actually used by the Lord at times to teach us dependence on His Spirit rather than on self and our own human faculties, which is exactly what this verse is alluding to.

The message actually flowed really well and we had a powerful ministry time with many getting touched by the Lord in a major way! They were so blessed they had us do extra meetings later on in the week and the pastor and his wife ended up inviting us to their home on the coast where we also got the added blessing of getting a bit of surf. This was quite miraculous, as the reports said it was completely flat, but our son Patrick had been praying for some waves, and so we got to experience a new place to do some surfing in Canada!

We had many blessed meetings on from there, with a meeting we did that went long into the evening as we led worship and shared Holy Ghost Stories from the early days of the Vineyard and the Jesus People Revival late into the evening!

We received some testimonies later of people who were filled with the Spirit and also received healing, including a woman who got healed from a stiffness in her neck. A man also shared how he felt led to pray for someone at work after we laid hands on him, and the person ended up getting healed. Another woman shared how her hips were healed when we prayed for her in one of the meetings. There was also a birthday party where we shared, that turned into an evangelistic outreach, which had four people indicating decisions to surrender to Christ, and which flowed into another all-night ministry meeting, hallelujah!

We were blessed to experience the Lord touch, fill, heal, and save through the power of His Spirit while we ministered up north!

We’ve also been blessed to experience the Lord moving amongst the southern border as we have been ministering there in some different churches. We had a few people make decisions to surrender their lives to Christ in various different meetings as well as a woman who received healing from ringing in her ears, as well as numerous people filled with the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. In one recent service, a brother shared how deeply he was touched and encouraged as he was filled with God’s power, and that the verse we were sharing on was exactly what he felt the Lord was focusing him on at that time.

We had a divine appointment recently as we and some friends shared with a waitress who we ended up praying for after eating dinner. She got powerfully touched by the Lord’s presence! She was a new believer with whom we were all sharing about the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit. We prayed for her in the parking lot as tears streamed down her face while the Lord touched her and spoke into her life! Hallelujah!

The Lord’s Commission is to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations, so we are glad to participate in His work! We thank you for helping us in these efforts through your prayers and support!

Much love and blessings!

Bryan, Mercedes and Patrick Marleaux

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ministry Update: Summer 2018

We recently returned from a ministry trip out to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We were blessed to visit our friends who are pastoring a couple of congregations out there these days, as well as to preach and minister.

The Holy Spirit moved in a powerful way touching the majority of the people in both congregations in a glorious way.
The Holy Spirit falls on a young man as 
Patrick and our friend Callum pray for him.


Ministering during one of the services 
at Arbol de Vida in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

The pastor told me afterward what a blessing it was to see so many of the people in both congregations get so touched, filled, and empowered, by the Holy Spirit like that.

In fact, one lady was powerfully and dramatically overcome by the presence of the Lord and fell over. She lay there being filled for quite some time soaking up God’s presence and afterwards shared with us how she has not been touched by the Lord like that in over 19 years, glory!

It was a blessing to see the Lord touch many in a deep way with His healing power as well. When He began His ministry, Jesus quoted from the Prophet Isaiah and His words were:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. Luke 4:18, KJV

We can see from this passage that Jesus is concerned with healing the whole of the person, inside and out. There are broken hearts and emotional bruises inside many that the Lord wants to heal when the Holy Spirit is given room to minister. We were blessed to see the Lord minister healing both on the inside and outside while we prayed and ministered to many there. We got many testimonies afterwards of how blessed, and renewed, and restored they were!

The Holy Spirit ministered both inside and outside the church too. We were just hanging out in our friends’ home, in the kitchen talking, when out of nowhere the Holy Spirit descended in power touching all of us powerfully and bringing forth some healing to a few there as well! Hallelujah!

Speaking of outside the church, we also had a divine appointment with a maid at a little motel we stayed at on the way. We ended up praying for her after having shared with her. She said she already believed in Jesus but was very alone here in America. When we prayed for her she said she felt power go down through her and the touch of Christ in her! She was so thankful for a touch from God! Glory!

We were also blessed recently to get together with a friend visiting Los Angeles, California, from Norway. We were blessed to have the Holy Spirit show up and minister to each of us as we just took a little time for some prayer together near the beach. Interestingly enough, the exact same thing happened with a friend from Sweden who was in California recently too. We were just praying before a meal together when the Holy Spirit showed up, took over, and poured His presence out on all of us! Jesus spontaneously ministered wherever the Father led him to, whether it was to one individual, or a group of people. It is all equally important to the Lord.

We had a blessed time ministering as well at Iglesia Antioquia, down in the South San Diego area recently.

There was a powerful move of the Holy Spirit which came right at the very end. We had just preached and also ministered in what had been a blessed service already.

However, right as things were wrapping up, I discerned the Holy Spirit leading me to go back and pray for one more person. The power of God came upon him very strongly and then the person next to him got powerfully filled too. A chain reaction-like move of the Holy Spirit took place which soon engulfed pretty much the whole church. This resulted in extending the service and continued ministry for roughly another hour with most everyone there getting ministered to; it was an awesome time! Hallelujah!

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5:
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

Paul in fact emphasizes the importance of the Holy Spirit’s role in ministry over against relying on human wisdom as the important factor for buoying faith and encouragement.

We are thankful for all the ways we are, and have been, able to be instruments of extending Christ’s Kingdom and the power of His Holy Spirit to others (we have more ministry we’ve been doing that we’ll share another time).

We so appreciate you partnering with us and helping us in extending the Kingdom of God and ministering to others. We know He’ll bless you for it as His word promises! Many thanks in Jesus’ Name to you!

Happy Fourth of July! As we celebrate Independence Day, it's a good time to reflect on America's Christian roots with our video on Plymouth's Pilgrims and their Christian Faith to get some insight on this topic. (Direct link: https://youtu.be/xRM3-jqexe0)

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support, it is such a blessing and keeps us out there doing the stuff!

Much love and blessings!

Bryan, Mercedes and Patrick Marleaux

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ministry Update--March 2018

Resurrection Blessings to You


As we approach Easter it is important to remember how Jesus endured the cross for us.
Jesus said before going to the cross “no man takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:18) Jesus went to the cross willingly and paid the price for our sin so that we might have forgiveness and eternal life! Hallelujah!

He rose from the grave victorious over sin and death and the same power that raised Christ from the grave, the Holy Spirit, is given to us who have believed upon Christ (Eph. 1:19-20). Praise God! His presence is with us to comfort, empower, and lead, as we go forth in our walk with the Lord.


St. Patrick


The Lord, through generations of history, has drawn individuals unto Himself to receive salvation, and then used them with that same resurrection power that raised Christ from the grave, to reach others.

The person we know as St. Patrick actually grew up in Roman Britain in a Christian home; in fact, his grandfather was a minister in the Celtic church. However, Patrick himself didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ.

Having been kidnapped by barbarians and taken to Ireland around 16 years of age, he was made a slave and forced to herd pigs. He had much time to contemplate life and began to call out to God and experienced a conversion to Christ.

He was actually able to escape to the coast and there find a ship to take him on and go back to Ireland, all through a dream God gave him.

When he came back to Roman Britain and reconnected with his family they were astonished, it was like he had risen from the dead.

Later on he was called to go back to Ireland through a dream where he heard the voice of the Irish calling him: “We beseech you to come and walk amongst us once more.” He didn’t leave right away though, but took time to prepare.

Later, as he ministered to the Irish, he saw many converted to Christ as he relied on the power of God. And in spite of opposition and resistance from pagans and druids, he saw many come to Christ. His earlier time there had also prepared him to understand the Irish and how to reach out to them.

As God’s grace and power had impacted Patrick’s life, he went on to leave a legacy of impacting others with that same truth.


More in Depth


If you would like to hear more on: “Christ’s Trial and Crucifixion” as well as “The Real St. Patrick”
We are beginning to put our audio programs on a new format for us. As well as the formats we’ve been already using, we are now putting audio programs on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/graceworldmission) where they can be more easily heard anytime on your phone, tablet, or computer.

We have many other videos and audio programs that range from Bible teaching, to figures in Christian history, to revivals. You can visit our web page for links to them. You can also hear some of our music there and at Bryan Marleaux (https://soundcloud.com/bmarleaux) on SoundCloud too.


Brief Update


We had a powerful time ministering in San Diego and were stoked to see many people getting powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit in an awesome way. The Lord was touching so many powerfully with His Spirit it was just an absolutely renewing time. We also had many who made decisions for Christ. We also had an amazing move of the Holy Spirit as we ministered in the OC recently. We were joined in the service by a friend from France who is visiting the U.S. at the moment, who helped us in praying for others at the service. He said it was actually first time he’d prayed for other people like this. In fact, he and our son Patrick effectively prayed for many people that day who were powerfully touched by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has been moving very powerfully touching and filling many people as well as releasing healing and lifting off heaviness and darkness. The pastor in OC also got so touched that she was on the floor for some time and needed help getting up, and then the Lord touched her and others with His Joy where many were so overcome they couldn’t stand, including ourselves. It was an awesome time of visitation of the presence of the Lord.

There was also an Iranian woman who had come into the service in OC, she hadn’t been there before and didn’t know that it is a Spanish-speaking church. However, she happened to show up the one day when the message was also in English, as Mercedes was translating to Spanish what I preached in English that day. The Iranian lady heard the message of the Gospel and then came up first to just get prayer for an ailment, but when she experienced the reality of the power of the Holy Spirit she opened her heart and received Jesus as her Savior! Hallelujah! Her father also had some seeds planted as we talked and shared and prayed for him at the end of the service.

We have been having meetings in the high desert with some friends of ours over the years that we call PrayerFests. We often have people there who haven’t experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit, so we share some testimonies of how we experienced the fullness of the Spirit along with some Scriptures and then pray for those who’ve come. We’ve seen many from different denominational backgrounds, ones that are not even open to this type of activity, get touched and filled with the Holy Spirit! Praise God! We recently had one where a couple who was very new to this saw the husband get deeply touched and filled with the Holy Spirit. Another woman who was there got powerfully ministered to and greatly encouraged by the love and presence of the Lord she experienced! Hallelujah!

We have had some powerful divine appointments recently as well, where we had opportunities to share the Gospel in effective ways with others. One was with a couple in the mountains who just came up and asked me to take a picture of them, turned out they happened to know a friend of ours who we prayed for to be filled with the Holy Spirit in Hawaii some years back (link to video) This opened the door to share with them in a powerful and effective way. We also had the opportunity to share with a man from Cuba who we talked with about the love and grace of Christ!

On the home front, we’ve been having some battles with our transportation situation as our cars have been having some issues. We always appreciate your prayers and support, thanks so much!

Be blessed this Easter season!

Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux




You can check out our program The Real St. Patrick on audio and video

Friday, February 9, 2018

Ministry Update--2017 In Review



We are thankful for all the Lord did in 2017 as we ministered in a number of different places and saw the Lord save, fill, empower, set free, and heal.

We were also blessed to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. This being quite the milestone, we headed up early before some ministry in Canada to take some time to celebrate and enjoy a little of the scenery before we ministered. We were blessed to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks taking in some of the awesome views of the glaciers on some hikes.

We ministered in Canada on Vancouver Island, where we saw the Holy Spirit move in power and do some amazing things, powerfully filling people and breaking into the lives of those who didn't have a Spirit-filled Christian background at all. In fact, one particular guy who had come to a meeting we did, who was not from a Spirit-filled background, had encountered a verse from the book of John on the Holy Spirit earlier that day. Then, when we did some worship and without knowing what he had read earlier, I felt led to play a song based on that very verse as well as share on it. He came to the realization that the Lord was preparing him and that he needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We began to pray for him and the Holy Spirit came upon him in great power for the first time in his life and he experienced the gift of tongues. He was so powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit he couldn't continue to stand and had to be held up by others, he was so touched! Another guy helping hold him up also got filled with God's power and exclaimed: "That was amazing, never in my life have I experienced something like that!" Hallelujah!

We ministered up and down the West Coast of California, down upon the Southern border region, and up along the Central Coast of California, as well as many other places where the Holy Spirit moved in power, including Isla Vista, Shell Beach, and Salinas. The Lord met us each step of the way here and overseas!

We were blessed to minister for three months in Europe in 5 different countries. The Lord did so much it would be easy to rewrite a whole account again, but rather than doing that, we'll just recap some of the highlights. You can check out our recent newsletter for a more in-depth report at: http://gwmgracenotes.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-praise-report-winter-2017.html

In England we were blessed to have some youth open their hearts to the Gospel and the message of Christ and also get powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit in a very dramatic way. The Holy Spirit came upon some of the kids in power who found themselves resting in the Spirit on the floor for some time. God touching the youth became a theme for many other places on the trip!

We were blessed in France to minister on the Reformation in preparation for a Reformation-based outreach event some friends were doing. In fact, some brothers from South Africa with a French Reformed (Huguenot) background showed up to intercede; led by the Spirit they showed up and came and prayed for the meetings. After a meeting where the Holy Spirit powerfully filled many there with the Holy Spirit with some dramatic manifestations, as well as some opening their hearts to Christ, they told us that was exactly what they'd been praying and interceding to see happen in France!

In Spain we ministered in Catalonia in the cities of Tarragona, Reus, and Barcelona, where we taught on being empowered and operating in the gifts of the Spirit. We were stoked to see the hunger there for the Holy Spirit and many were filled and empowered and moved to step out and minister. We also experienced a few being healed and coming to Christ! A divine appointment on the coast in between ministering led to a board being supplied and a chance to share the Gospel with a local Catalan surfer!

We were blessed to minister in some different regions of Sweden including Skåne and Småland. In Skåne, we preached in Hässleholm, Örkeljunga, and Trelleborg. The Lord moved in power and we got a lot of response, many shared how filled and renewed they were as we ministered. We were stoked to see the daughter of the family hosting us get powerfully filled and then join us in every meeting praying for others! Some of the leaders got powerfully filled too and were very insistent that the ministry we are doing is so needed there, and we must keep coming back. We also ministered in the region of Småland, on the East coast of Sweden, where a young lady came and told us how impacting and life changing our ministry was to her. 

We also had a couple of people open their hearts to Christ, some who had Muslim backgrounds. We spoke at a youth meeting focused on getting some of the youth filled with the Spirit, and out of nowhere, the Holy Spirit just swept in and started powerfully filling a group of them. They began to lift their hands and tears streamed down some of their faces as they prayed over one another and gave words of encouragement to each other. New believers with Muslim backgrounds joined in for the first time and began to pray for one another too, including the guy who had just accepted Christ earlier on in the meeting. The Holy Spirit continued to pour out long after many had gone home. A friend noticed the powerful change when the Holy Spirit swept in and said, "This is a miracle!" We knew it was a special moment as the Lord poured His Spirit over many who had never experienced His power like this before. 

A young guy who had been filled and touched in those meetings shared the following with us: The Lord had put such a fire in him that he had begun to share the Gospel with others, even sharing with a tough guy in town. He also was evangelizing on a bus and prayed for a lady who got healed, which opened a door to tell her about Jesus. This is a huge deal for someone in Sweden to step out like that as it is a very shy culture, but the Holy Spirit can transcend, and this is why we ourselves come to minister in God's power that others may be equipped to be His witnesses.

We ministered in Norway, in the town of Mandal. From the very first meeting, the Lord poured out His Spirit in a very powerful and remarkable way. In one of the youth meetings, late in the evening, the Holy Spirit just descended all of a sudden in power on a group of young teen girls, and the Lord touched them so deeply for such a long time that a puddle of tears gathered around their feet, and the Youth Group leader pointed out that it looked like pearls that had fallen down from heaven! You know it is significant when young people ignore a waiting pizza and flow with the Holy Spirit instead! We were stoked to be able to preach on Martin Luther and the Reformation at their Sunday services, two days before the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Many of the older generation were very thankful to hear the story and were touched and refreshed, but many young people had never heard the story at all and were blessed by it as well. We closed by sharing about how Martin Luther emphasized the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and prayed for many to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We were also blessed to get to go to Wittenberg, Germany, for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. October 31st, Reformation Day, was a pretty extraordinary day to be right there where the Reformation all began! The little town was packed with people from all over the world coming to celebrate this momentous event. Since it was so crowded, we rented and rode bikes into the town center, and as we were getting closer, a huge group of black cars and police with a helicopter hovering overhead passed by us. We hadn't known that the Chancellor of Germany would coming for a special service at the Castle Church. We had lots of divine appointments throughout the day with different people whom we shared with and prayed for as we were equipped with quotes from Luther and the Bible about the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit! 

There were many special events going on, including museum exhibitions as well as a sound and light show. There was also a musical about Luther in Berlin which was broadcast live all over the nation, and actually quoted many Bible verses. It was quite a unique moment for sure and we believe the Lord was using this occasion to plant many seeds in people's lives about the Gospel as well as draw many to Himself!

We truly appreciate all your prayers and support.
Many blessings to you!
Bryan, Mercedes, and Patrick Marleaux

P.S. We had a bit of a rough return coming back from Europe with the recent wildfires that hit the Southern California region. To read about our own experience during the wildfires in San Diego, click here.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Our Recent Wildfire Experience

We had quite the rough return after a recent three-month mission trip in Europe.

We were home just a short bit when wildfires broke out in our area. It is amazing how fast things can get heavy and crazy and throw life upside down, especially when you throw a wildfire into the mix.

Not long after we returned from Europe, Mercedes opened a window one morning and said, "I think I smell smoke." We found out that a fire had broken out in our general region; however, when we checked for some news on it, it seemed small enough and far enough away-miles up a canyon at the other end of the 76 Highway corridor-that it was probably not something to be concerned about. It didn't hit me until later that if we smell smoke this far away then the Santa Ana winds are moving exceedingly fast and are very strong.

The fire, which began small enough, soon mushroomed and doubled in size. Then as the day went on, it continued to multiply in size and came in our direction much, much faster than we expected. In fact, in just a few hours that day, it traveled a distance of about 12 miles and consumed over 4100 acres.

Patrick and I were out, having gone to take care of a few errands, and were driving on the highway when a local radio station began stressing how serious the fire situation had become in our area.

We cut things short, turned around, and headed back towards home to find out that you could see the flames raging into the sky right from a ridge a few blocks from our home. A little further down in the neighborhood from another viewpoint you could see that it was moving right in our direction. It was almost into a regional park filled with enormous amounts of dry brush and which is right down below from where we live. The newscasters were warning that being up a hill is no defense with these winds as the fire actually accelerates as it climbs upwards-heat rises! That regional park was a potential tinder box if the fire got into it. It could rage through it and send embers and flames right into the neighborhoods adjacent to it where we live.

We got home, turned on the news and the newscaster was showing a graphic map-it was what I had just been looking at and thinking about moments before while staring at the flames: the path of the fire, if the wind kept up and the firefighters couldn't stop it, is headed straight towards us and will shortly explode with embers in that park, flying into the adjacent neighborhoods. I thought to myself, Trying to stop the onward march of the flames with these 50 mph Santa Ana winds is like trying to stand on railroad tracks and stop a rushing locomotive with a trash can lid! It can only be stopped by divine intervention, not by might or human power…

As I thought about that we got a call right then from the Sheriff's department saying: "This is an evacuation warning: wildfire is headed in your direction. Prepare to evacuate!" Of course, seeing: 1. the flames headed in our direction, 2.the graphic map on the news, 3. the phone call from the Sheriff's department, we were getting quite concerned to put it mildly.

We immediately took time to pray and then afterwards began to get packed up and ready to go. What do we take and what do we leave behind? I thought. Just the stress of immediately having to decide what to pack up and what to leave behind is overwhelming. While contemplating which things do I leave behind to possibly burn to a cinder, thoughts of a former experience like this raced into my mind from the past...


Reflections from the Past



We were living in Corona Del Mar (CDM) the south end of Newport Beach, some years back, when hard blowing Santa Ana winds came up and fire broke out nearby. I had ridden my bike that day earlier into the Newport Coast area, a stretch of coast to the south of CDM with some open land and lots of dry brush. Fire was raging in the area and I watched as the surrounding brush became a torch to light up multimillion dollar homes in the Emerald Bay and Laguna Beach area.

These places had all the defensible space and things supposed to protect them, but the fire just ripped right into them. Mobile homes adjacent to Emerald Bay in El Moro Park went up like matchboxes while their propane tanks-which are designed to withstand high heat-blew up like bombs. I could hardly believe the devastation I was seeing with my own eyes. I thought, This stuff is like a steamroller, when that wind and fire get going, it just flattens whatever is in its path.

The wind switched while looking on and chatting with a reporter from a local news station, and all of a sudden, a telephone pole caught fire and crashed down right next to us with live wires sparking and making noise. We looked at each other and he said what we both knew: "Time to get out of here before the whole place goes up."

The wind and fire were now headed north. I entered Corona Del Mar on my bike into a bizarre scene: the sun had gone down and an eerie orange glow lit up the sky while people frantically ran down the streets in panic as an evacuation warning had just been given. Mercedes had already packed some things up and put them in the car when I got back, and we waited on pins and needles for further news while contemplating what else to take. Nothing was forthcoming, so I called a friend about midnight who lived in Cameo Shores at the south end of town and closest to the fire. He informed me that thankfully the wind had just subsided and the firefighters were able to keep the fire from getting out of Newport Coast and into Corona Del Mar. We thanked God and were able to get a bit of fitful sleep.

That past experience, watching those places go up in Laguna Beach and El Moro, made me think of our present situation, how crazy this could get if things don't calm down.


Back in the Present Situation



Remembering how heavy it all can get, we continued to pray seriously for the winds to die down and intermittently headed back to a viewpoint to check on what was happening. The situation was concerning, with each check the fire seemed to be getting bigger and coming closer.

In the intermittent time of being left hanging again without further word from the Sheriff, I came across a book I felt led to open and read. It was one of sermons by Martin Luther. The Lord began to speak out of it to me. Luther talked about how the Holy Spirit doesn't make Christians into some super saints who don't experience difficulty, or feel stress, or worry, but rather the Holy Spirit comforts us, ministers to us, and helps us when we feel stress, anxiety, and worry. Whatever we might feel in the heart or go through in life, He is there to minister to us. We do not need to act religious or pretend that we don't feel these things sometimes in life, but rather we need to fall into the arms of Christ who helps us and holds us up by the Holy Spirit in times of trial.

As I read a bit from this book we let God minister to us, we needed His strength in this situation. I then headed out to the viewpoint for another situation update. Thank God the wind finally had subsided a bit about 3:00 AM and things calmed down some too. I came back and fell asleep on a chair, exhausted from all the stressful activity, getting just a couple of hours of fitful sleep.

Early in the morning I headed out for another check and situation update, remembering how just a few years ago in San Diego the wind and fires looked like they died down during the night, only to explode again in the early morning, with harsh winds kicking back up and the raging inferno raging on. Thankfully, back then we had been further away from the flames.

As I looked out over the ridge I thanked God the wind had stayed calmer, it was blowing some, but not raging. I was also glad as I saw the Marine's helicopters dumping water and greatly helping fight the still-burning fire.

The most immediate threat for us had subsided, but we were by no means out of the woods, as wind and burning fire kept going for days afterward. Over 1000 firefighters kept on the front lines of just this, the Lilac Fire, for days, knowing a shift back to the hard winds could change everything in a moment.

A lot of stress hits you in these times and normal life takes a back seat for a while. Having seen what kind of destruction these things can bring with my own eyes in the past, I was all too aware of how much more damage it could have done, which just adds to the overall stress of the situation.

In the middle of all this anxiety however, the Lord is there to help us. We should always remember that as God's children the Holy Spirit is there to comfort, minister to us, and strengthen us, no matter what situation or trial we may face in life. He is always there to help us, we just need to open our hearts to Him and let Him minister to us. "God works everything together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

The Lord also used Luther's words on the Holy Spirit to minister to another bit of stress: having just returned from a three-month mission trip and living on the road and regularly experiencing adventure and divine appointments and miracles is exciting…coming home to: taking out the trash, cleaning out weeds that invaded the yard, trying to fix a car where rats had climbed into the engine area and made a nest in and ate its wires, not so exciting. Missiologists have defined this stress of returning from a mission trip, regardless if it is a short or long trip, as a real thing! It has a specific name: Mission re-entry shock.

It hits people coming back from mission trips without them even realizing it. That's because it is physical: real stuff like jet lag makes you doze off at 6:00 pm and wake up at 2:00am, as well as the body needing to recover from being cramped in a tin can with 300 of your favorite friends in a miserable bus-in-the-sky for hours upon hours on end! We had over 30 hours of straight travel just getting home when you count all the connections and everything else on this return trip!

But it is more than just physical: we wrestle not against flesh and blood only, but against spiritual forces of darkness in heavenly realms. We can't forget that satanic forces attack those the Lord uses to get others saved, filled, healed, and delivered.

You do experience and feel more warfare hitting you the more people get saved, filled, healed, and delivered. It is important to remember to keep on the full armor of God lest the mood of Elijah at Horeb try and overtake us! (That is where Elijah got hit by darkness, heaviness, and spiritual warfare.)

Our old friend Lonnie Frisbee used to give us missionary advice and say: "When you're tired, hungry, worn out, upset, or exhausted, then realize you need to watch out! Because that is when the enemy will come at you hard! I tell you guys: guard your heart: I didn't, and it cost me dearly!, he explained.

The rest of his advice was to lean into Jesus and let the Holy Spirit minister to us fully-exactly what we watched Lonnie exemplify those last few years of his life, and also what Luther was talking about in the book I read during the fire!

The Lord used the wildfire to begin a process and do deeper stuff with the Holy Spirit within us. In fact, the fire just got the process going again once we were home from the trip, and we are rolling with the Holy Ghost now in the renewing process He's taking us through, something he actually began in us years ago, and is in fact, continuing to carry forth, something we all need in the Body of Christ.

After all, Jesus began His ministry with the words from the book of Isaiah about how He came to: heal the brokenhearted, set at liberty those that are bruised, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor-which means He came to proclaim grace. Stress bruises the mind and the soul and we all got to let the Lord heal us up as we live in a stress-filled world!

I heard Reinhard Bonnke say one time: "We should be people whom the Holy Spirit can minister to easily." Right on, I say to that! I encourage the same for you who have read this, as we all carry stress at times that we don't need to. We just got to give it to the Lord and let the Holy Ghost come in and minister to us and He'll lift it off, and He will even do much more glorious work if we let Him! Hallelujah!

How about this for a New Year's resolution: let Christ carry your burdens, and let the Holy Spirit fill you with His presence, all the time! Amen!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Blessings






And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7




Christmas and the Manger


We were just at the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation before returning home for the holidays. It was a momentous occasion, so coming back straight from that celebration, we have a few reflections on Christmas through that perspective:

While in Wittenberg, Germany, we were taking in how Martin Luther was awed with Christ’s birth and the poignancy of the manger. He points out that, right from His birth, Jesus was reaching out, communicating that even the lowest and most humble in society may find redemption in Him.

Even though Jesus’s inception was supernatural and of heaven via the Holy Spirit, Jesus didn’t float in on a cloud when He came into the world, but rather, God sent forth his Son to be born of a woman like the rest of humanity.

Moreover, God chose to bring Him forth in the most humble of fashions, being born in a lowly manger next to common barnyard animals, with their hay and dung, the kind of stuff that fills a place like that.

From His very birth, Jesus reaches out to us in our humble, broken, sin-stained state, as fallen human beings in need of redemption. He meets us right down in the dung of our sin and brokenness, and when we take hold of Him, He cleanses us and brings us into forgiveness, healing, and eternal life.

Luther said that when he preached, wrote, or translated the Scriptures, he wasn’t seeking to impress doctors and lawyers with big words, even though he actually had a number of doctors and lawyers in his congregation, but rather sought to communicate simply and clearly so that even the simple ploughboy and milkmaid might understand and receive from Christ.

We were just ministering in downtown San Diego at CDO Church recently and were speaking at their five different services about Martin Luther and the Reformation, using it as a platform to communicate the Gospel. Many responded to the message that weekend and opened their hearts to Christ, as well as many who were also filled with the Holy Spirit.


Christ Reaches Out to All


As we ministered that weekend, I found myself praying for a woman who had come forward wearing a uniform from a fast food chain restaurant. She looked like she’d come over straight from her shift as the uniform was dirty and messy, covered with hamburger stains. She had responded to the Gospel message earlier, and now came forward for prayer. As I prayed for her, she slowly opened up and the Lord began to pour His love and grace over her by the Holy Spirit in a powerful way to where tears filled her eyes as she lifted her hands.

The Lord doesn’t get impressed with outward appearances, coming forward in a messy, hamburger stained, fast food uniform is exactly what the manger is meant to represent. The Lord will meet anyone who just opens their heart, right where they’re at, right where we are at, and fill us with His grace, and love, when we just say yes to Christ.

Interestingly enough, even though Luther sought to communicate so that the ploughboy might understand, there were many also in the higher echelons of society touched by the Gospel as it was communicated by Luther.

One was Johann Sebastian Bach. The town of Eisenach had been a home, at times, for both Luther and Bach. Bach, one of the greatest classical composers ever, was hugely influenced by Martin Luther even though he lived in a later period than Luther. Luther’s writing on his own conversion as well as his theology had a great impact on Bach’s life. Luther said: “I learned theology through trial, temptations, and difficulties.” Bach was touched by God through Luther’s words and subsequently used over one hundred of Luther’s texts in his music.

Christ’s message of grace goes out to all, from the lowest to the highest: whosoever will may come. Bach’s life was touched by the Gospel through Luther, and Bach’s music continues to minister, even to this day. You’ll scarcely go to a wedding (even our own :) )without hearing Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desire.


Music Unchained


Luther himself had unchained music from years of tradition. Previous to Luther, only choirs of monks sung Gregorian chants in church in Latin, and the congregation was not permitted to participate.

This was another thing Luther changed by introducing what were called originally Psalms in the vernacular, later called hymns. Luther made songs in the language of the people that were meant to be sung by the entire congregation, very much a revolutionary step at the time, and one that stuck and is practiced today in churches, fellowship meetings, Bible Studies, etc., all over the world.

One of the more famous hymns Luther wrote was A Mighty Fortress Is Our God about God our Protector amidst trial, tribulations, and spiritual battle.

Another hymn often attributed to Luther, is Away in a Manger. Luther wrote about the Incarnation extensively, and wrote a lot of music on this topic.

Our Lord is a mighty fortress who reigns in heaven and helps us amid trial and spiritual battle. He is also the gentle baby in the manger, willing to meet us right where we are in the midst of our brokenness and difficulty.

I remember one time when I was on my way to preach at a small church in Sweden, when I tripped, fell, and slid down a steep, muddy, grassy hill, as I was about to go into the service. Oh, what an unexpected wild ride that was. I was wet and covered in mud. There was no time to change, so I just went ahead and preached and ministered that way. A young lady later gave a prophetic word in the service, saying how the Lord isn’t looking at the outward appearance: being wet and muddy didn’t hinder the Holy Spirit working through our brother. The Lord isn’t like our pretentious culture that focuses so much on outward appearances. Rather, He sees the heart and meets us right where we are at and is there to comfort and minister to us whatever trial or difficulty we may find ourselves facing or “tripping” into.

Christ is always there to pick us up, minister to us, comfort us. Whosoever will can receive grace and mercy by just opening their heart.

We pray the Lord blesses you this Christmas and into the New Year, and that He fills you in a fresh way with the reality of His grace, mercy, and love!

Much love and many blessings!

Bryan, Mercedes
and Patrick Marleaux

P.S. You can check other renditions of Christmas music we've also done by clicking here.