Monday, February 6, 2017

Ministry Update: January-February 2017

Preaching and ministering in Colorado.

Preaching and ministering in Sweden.

We recently returned from ministering in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some friends of ours had been pastoring a church for a couple of years out there and wanted us to come out and minister when we could. We’d kept it in prayer over the last two years and then right as the new year began we discerned the Lord leading us to make arrangements to go out and minister there. 

Everything fell together, so next thing we knew we were driving through deserts, mountains, and some unexpected storms on our way there. We arrived and spent some time catching up with our friends and then as we ministered we experienced a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

They had been teaching on the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit for the past few months and said afterward that we had come in the “perfect timing.” Wow, only the Lord could arrange things that way as we hadn't discussed with them what we would minister on, nor had they told us they had been teaching on that subject; it was all the Holy Spirit’s timing, praise the Lord.

On our return from Colorado, we made it home just in time through some storms to see the Lord continue to move powerfully as we ministered in Orange, California at Centro Cristiano Esperanza. 

We were blessed to see the Holy Spirit also touch lives as we ministered last year in different places: in the cities of Hässleholm, Gothenburg, and Gamleby in Sweden, as well as in Paris and Tours in France, and in London, England. The Spirit of God ministered the grace of Christ as we also preached in Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, as well as in Medford, Oregon and in Northern and Southern California and down in the US/Mexico border region.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support! They are a great help as we extend the Kingdom of Christ and His mercy, grace, and power, to others near and far!

Much love and blessings!

Bryan, Mercedes and Patrick Marleaux

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas: Divine Appointments and Refreshing from Above

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of His mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by His grace, we become heirs…of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7

The kindness and love of God appeared in a little manger in Bethlehem as Mary gave birth to the Savior. He further demonstrated kindness and love in works of mercy and healing. Christ then went to the cross so that through faith in Him we could have eternal life. He continues to give us the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, comfort, and empower us. Praise God, He came that we might have life!

We were blessed to be invited by some good friends this season to experience through a dinner play some moments of an early American Christmas.

One of the highlights happened unexpectedly after the play, where a conversation with the main actor led to having us pray for him out by the parking lot. The Spirit of God touched him as we all laid hands on him, he openly wept as the Lord touched his heart. He thanked us profusely stating he needed that refreshing touch. We thanked God for such a powerful and unexpected divine appointment.

A similar scene followed the next evening while at dinner at a restaurant after our annual board meeting. A young Hispanic man we’d shared with at this same restaurant before who had opened his heart to Christ as we ministered to him last year, came up enthusiastically to talk to us. A little more sharing went on this night and next we knew we were the Jesus Freaks out in the parking lot again praying for the guy as people walked by wondering what on earth we were doing! 

The guy had now been attending some fellowships and had even had a vision since the last divine appointment. So this time the prayer was for the filling of the Spirit, which we were blessed to see taking place as we all laid hands on him. I thought, Hey, what could be a better way to end a board meeting than this, out in the street ministering the Full Gospel!

Interestingly enough, we ourselves were deeply refreshed by both experiences. We had suffered lots of stress just trying to the get through the absolutely horrible traffic on the evening to the Christmas play, as well as being hit by serious some spiritual warfare the next day—as our sleep had gotten badly and unexpectedly interrupted the night before the board meeting.

In each situation, though feeling weak ourselves, we yet felt the leading of the Holy Spirit guiding us into stepping out to give to another the blessings of the Kingdom of Christ. We found ourselves getting refreshed and renewed as we took a step to bless another person.

When we receive the blessings of Christ it renews us and when we step out to give away some of what He gave us, it refreshes us. This is a mystery of Christ's Kingdom, when we give, we yet still receive! As we follow the greatest Giver of All, Jesus Christ, born in a stable, and dying on a cross, that we might have life!

We pray you are refreshed and renewed in His amazing love through the Holy Spirit this Christmas!

We always appreciate your giving and prayers for us and we know the Lord will refresh and bless you abundantly!

Much love and many blessings to you and your family 
this Christmas and all God’s best for 2017!

Bryan, Mercedes

and Patrick Marleaux

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Martin Luther and a Prophecy Fulfilled

Martin Luther, pictured with a swan,
which was meant to portray that
Luther had fulfilled the prophecy
made by Jan Hus a century before.

'You are now going to burn a goose, but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.'

Jan Hus, the Bohemian Reformer whose name means goose in his language, made this prophecy before his death, when he was about to be burned at the stake. He had attempted to bring reform to the Catholic Church and paid the ultimate price.

Martin Luther saw in himself the fulfillment of Hus’s prophecy, especially after being condemned as a heretic and barely escaping death. After surviving the threat of being burned at the stake himself, Luther often had paintings of himself made standing by a swan to point it out. 

The Education of Travel

One of the blessings of traveling to other places, especially those where historical events took place, is getting fresh insights into familiar topics.

These insights and other blessings when ministering overseas outweigh some of the burdens of being on the road such as: sleeping in uncomfortable beds—man that lower back can get sore. That, and having to use public toilets, I'll spare the gory details.

Anyways, it is such a blessing when you run into fresh prophetic insight on a topic you’ve been studying for a long time and the Holy Spirit pours over you with a refreshing wave.

Insights in Unexpected Places

We were able to swing through Germany at the end of our recent three month long Euro-mission trip (will have a full report of the trip shortly.) 

We were in the former GDR—Communist East Germany—in the little town of Eisleben, where Luther was born and died and where the place still has streets called Karl-Marx-Straße.

In one of the little museums about Luther in that town there was a display of pictures towards the end of the exhibition of Luther posing with a swan by his side. The portraits told how Luther saw and believed that he had fulfilled the prophecy of Jan Hus. The Holy Spirit came upon me out of nowhere while taking it in and there was a moment of unexpected refreshing there. I was trying to hold it together while getting blasted in the middle of a museum!

Escaping Death by the Skin of His Teeth

Luther’s old friend and superior from his former Augustinian monastery Johann Staupitz had told Luther, “I don’t know what is in store for you if not being burned at the stake.”

Luther had been called to answer regarding his teaching at the Diet of Worms (an unusual name for a hearing that was like an inquest which would be held in the city of Worms, Germany). However, he knew going to it could probably result in his end and being burned at the stake like so many others who attempted reform of the Catholic Church’s wayward practices.

Many had attempted reforms of Catholicism but were met with severe persecution and even death: a few examples of persecuted reformers were Peter Waldo in France, JohnWycliffe in England, Jan Hus in Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic), WilliamTyndale of England.

The Diet of Worms

Luther was called before the Holy Roman Emperor—though neither Holy, nor Roman, but facts shouldn't get in the way of a pompous title. At the Diet, Luther was required to answer regarding his teachings, before the illustrious Charles the V hailing from Spain, the land of fanatical enforcers of Catholicism through the horrors of the Inquisition.

Charles the V and other cardinals demanded that Luther simply recant his teaching or face the consequences. Luther however, had been previously told that he would have an opportunity to explain his side and his journey to the truth he found in Scripture. Once he arrived however, he was told he must only recant or else, knowing probable death awaited him.

Luther, however, had come to Worms ready to pay the ultimate price for the truth he’d found in the Bible of God’s grace given through faith in Christ. Having wrestled through years of trying to find peace with God through dead Catholic rituals, he had finally come into the truth of Jesus’ love, mercy, and grace, through the Word of God.

He had come to a breaking point through ongoing confession of sins and endless dead ritualistic prayers and worship of relics (bones of dead saints that were venerated in Catholicism) along with so much constant fasting he ruined his health permanently. But it all served only to make him feel further from God. But then Staupitz, his superior, made a decision which was done only to rid the monastery of this troubled and troubling soul: Luther was sent away to study the Bible, something that was not, and still is not, the staple of the priesthood.

There in the Scriptures, Luther wrestled with Paul’s Letter to the Romans. He says, “Though I was an impeccable monk I was still a sinner with no confidence my effort could assuage a Holy God. Night and day I wrestled with Paul's letter in Romans until I saw the connection.” Dealing with the phrase “the just shall live by faith,” Luther finally saw that on the cross, Jesus “justified” sinners who look to Him in faith. He came to the revelation that Christ paid for sin; we don't have to pay for it ourselves! All we need to do is believe upon Jesus! When Luther finally understood this, the Holy Spirit opened the doors of the Kingdom of God and he was born again! (Luther's conversion)

Having found the truth and being set free, he was of no mind to turn away from it now though it cost him everything, including his very life. Luther and others like him who stood facing death for the faith are truly heroes of the faith though they may have had obvious flaws and made mistakes at times. 

"Here I stand" Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms
(Pic Bryan Marleaux, Wittenberg, Germany) 

Luther said before the journey to appear before the Diet: “I’ll enter Worms though there be as many devils there [awaiting me] as tiles on the roof.” Once he was before them, Luther rose to the occasion and literally took his stand when he declared the now famous words: “What I’ve written is merely based on Scripture…to go against Scripture and conscience is neither right nor safe, I cannot and will not recant! Here I stand so help me God!”

Luther threw his arms up in the air in the gesture of a victorious knight to the hisses of the Spaniards and the cheers of the Germans, and then marched out of the hall.

Escaping Death

There was a delay in moving against Luther. Frederick the Wise, the Elector of Saxony (Luther’s region), wanted to know if Luther had actually done anything wrong and if not why should he be condemned. With insufficient evidence to satisfy him, Frederick withdrew from the panel examining and deciding on his case, along with another individual who did the same, although a rump of the council went ahead and voted for Luther to be condemned as a heretic.

Frederick the Wise, who stepped up to protect Luther.
(Pic Bryan Marleaux, Eisleben, Germany)

However, during the night, the sign of the Bundschuh had been placed on the door of the Hall at the Diet. This stirred great unrest with the Diet as it was the sign of the peasant workers’ shoe—it signified the peasants’ revolt. The German peasants were ready to rise up in a revolt with riots if Luther was taken into custody. The German public was beginning to rally to Luther's side. As a result, the Diet was thrown into a panic and decided to delay their apprehending of Luther, even though he was now condemned as a notorious heretic. Instead, they would let him return to Wittenberg and apprehend him later when things were calmer.

On his return, however, while passing through the forest, a party of riders came upon him with much shouting and cursing and took Luther, kidnapping him and whisking him away. They rode circuitously all through the night, making sure there were no followers, finally reigning up at an ancient, seemingly abandoned, castle.

At the entrance to the Warburg Castle where Martin
Luther was hiding out for almost a year. During that time he
translated the New Testament into the German Language.
(pic Patrick Marleaux outside Eisenach, Germany)

Frederick the Wise had secretly arranged for Luther to be kidnapped and hidden in the ancient Wartburg Castle in the outskirts of Eisenach. Frederick had become convinced that Luther was guilty of nothing more than returning to the Bible and the teachings of the Early Church. Luther, after all, was in line with the earlier church teachings of Augustine, Tertullian, Aquinas, and many others on many points. His teaching lined up as well with the Church's very own Council of Ephesus in 431 (one of the seven key councils of the Early Church) that had condemned Pelagianism: The concept that man could earn salvation by his good works or rituals or that man could be sinless in and of himself (“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8.)

Frederick knew Luther would probably never make it home if he didn't intervene. Fanatical, Inquisition-driven, Catholic assassins, would surely be out to get him and and do away with him like they did other reformers!

Thus Frederick, as well as many others, realized that it was the Catholic Church that had departed from its roots in following after errant doctrines, ones it had itself once condemned! Luther was merely returning to the truth of Scripture and early church teaching like in the very first Church Council found in Acts 15:9-11 where Peter and Paul both affirm, “It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we are saved…”

Luther was holed up in the Wartburg for almost a year. In that time he translated the New Testament into the German language so that all could have access to the Scriptures.

The Catholic Church had forbidden the Bible to even be read or possessed by the common person and forbade it to be in any language other than Latin. If you're going to be condemned as a heretic, you might as well go all the way! Luther went all the way and made a translation of the New Testament from the original Greek that is still used to this very day.

His Bible translation into common German gave access to the Scriptures and changed society in spreading literacy.

Inside the Lutherstube at the Warburg,
the room where Martin Luther translated
the New Testament into German.
(pic Bryan Marleaux outside Eisenach, Germany)

Thank God Frederick showed himself to be truly “wise” by extending a hand to help and protect Luther, and in doing so, he helped to change history! Little did he know in the moment when he stepped up to help a fellow believer, who had stepped out for the truth, that he was actually being used by God to fulfill a prophecy, the very prophecy Jan Hus had made a century ago right befor his death.

Because of Frederick’s intervention, Luther the swan, was never cooked. News of Luther's bravery at the Diet spread and the general German public rallied around to support him while he was hidden in the Wartburg, and the time for being able to apprehend him had passed by the time he returned to Wittenberg almost a year later.

You never know what prophecy you might be fulfilling when you step up to help someone who is serving the Lord, or when you step out to serve God yourself!

To learn more, check out these video playlists on our YouTube channel:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ministry Update: June 2016

We just ministered in Medford, Oregon and had a very powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we preached and prayed for the people there. It was at a church in Oregon led by some friends from way back who we lost contact with over the years and who we just reconnected with recently. They were deeply touched when we ministered at another church of theirs many years ago and wanted to get in touch to have us minister with them again. They ran into a mutual friend who reconnected us and so we made the trip up to Oregon. The Holy Spirit met us in great power and touched most everyone in their congregation. We received many testimonies afterwards of lives touched and transformed by the power of God poured out that day!

We just had two radical divine appointments: One happened while having car trouble in the desert. We felt we should pull over to a hotel when experiencing a bad leak in the transmission. God met us in power as we went into the room and ministered His grace to us in the midst of the stress. The next morning we got into a conversation with a worker at the hotel during breakfast and after a long conversation about God’s grace she opened her heart to pray with us to receive Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior! Hallelujah! She'd been in the Catholic Church in her youth but never heard the Gospel there! God indeed works everything for good as His word says; we wouldn't have stayed at that hotel except for the car trouble! (We have a blog with more details on this so link here).

Shortly after this we were at dinner with some friends telling them what just happened in the desert. As we walked out of the restaurant I ended up in a conversation with the hostess of the restaurant who also just happening to be walking out. We ended up sharing the Lord with her and right in the middle, right in front of the restaurant, the Holy Spirit fell on her and she began to cry profusely. We prayed with her and our friends Jeff and Jeanette and myself and Mercedes laid hands on her as she re-surrendered her life to the Lord. The Holy Spirit touched and filled her in a powerful way as she rededicated herself to Christ after some time drifting away in her life! Glory!!

We’ve also been ministering recently down near the border where the Holy Spirit has met us in power.

We were having a special service on a Sunday recently where we set it up to have our son Patrick and his friend from Sweden, Petrus, each share a bit of the service we were ministering at and tell a little of how God has worked in their own lives.

While referencing how we are instructed to “ask and we shall receive” Patrick shared a couple stories of answers to prayers that came in unusual ways as well as how he was powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit unexpectedly on a certain occasion (we wrote a short blog on this.) Petrus also shared about the filling of the Holy Spirit and how it is the Lord’s will and desire to have us fan into flame that fire of the Spirit. He also shared his desire to take that fire back into Europe and Sweden specifically, which is something on our hearts as well.

John Wesley talked about the importance of preparing the next generation. It was a blessed time to see these youngsters—wow, feels weird using that word—challenged to step out and testify about Christ’s goodness. They learned that God is with them and helps them even when they are a little bit nervous and that He will glorify Himself through us when we step out to serve Him!

Thanks for your prayers and support. We deeply appreciate it, especially as we step back out to take the fire ourselves as we travel back to Europe once again this summer. It only takes a glance at the headlines these days to see the dire shape the place is in and how it needs a return to the Gospel. The Philistines are shaking up the place like in the days of Israel so join us in prayer and support as we reach out to turn hearts back to Christ and His saving power!

Much love and blessings!

Bryan, Mercedes, and Patrick Marleaux

Harald Bredesen, Charismatic Renewal pioneer talks about Grace World Mission in this video:
Direct link: