Saturday, April 3, 2021

Happy Easter! Ministry Update: Spring 2021



Praise God that Jesus went to the cross to pay for our sin! Death however could not hold Him and He rose from the grave victorious. The Bible says that the same power that raised Christ up from the grave is at work in us (Ephesians 1:19-20). We have been blessed with the Holy Spirit through Christ’s work on the cross! 

Recent Ministry Highlights 


Here are a few highlights of ministry that we have been doing both in-person and online and we have also been blessed to experience divine appointments along the way. 

Ministry in the Mountains 


We had an awesome time ministering up in the Eastern Sierra Mountains recently at Mammoth Mountain. We experienced some divine intervention and the Lord opened a door to minister at Lighthouse Church there in Mammoth at their main service. I shared about coming to Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit and we prayed for many people there who were touched by God’s power. 

We also shared at some home meetings there in Mammoth as well as in Crowley Lake during the week. Mercedes shared some of her testimony of being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit and I led some worship along with some divine appointment stories. We were blessed to minister there and enjoy some of the snow and God’s creation as well.  



Online Meetings 


While doing some online ministry Mercedes shared about some of the healing she has experienced recently in regard to her relationship with her dad with those who were participating on a Zoom meeting. There were those who responded about how they were touched and ministered to by her testimony.

Divine Appointments 


I recently had a divine appointment at a Sports and Hiking Store while talking about hiking and traveling with an employee there. I had the opportunity to share some Holy Ghost stories with one of the people who worked there and plant some seeds of the Gospel. 

Planting seeds is an important part of evangelism and there are different situations God will lead us into; it’s important to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do in each one. Sometimes it is to plant seeds, other times to water seeds, other times to harvest. It is important to “stay in step with the Holy Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) 

We always appreciate your prayers and support. 
May the risen Christ surround you with His presence this Easter! 

God bless! 
Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux

Jesus’s atonement on the cross has made the way for the Divine Holy Spirit to live inside of those who receive and believe upon Christ, we have a song celebrating this truth that you can listen to on the following platforms:

YouTube:

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A Visit to Patrick of Ireland’s Ancient Little Church




We were traveling around Ireland, as well as doing a bit of ministry there, when we came upon an opportunity to visit an interesting sight. 

It was actually out in County Sligo by a beach in the village of Strandhill, a place we had decided to visit for a few days. 
 
We were using public transportation at this point and getting around on the local bus, which became a bit of an endeavor because the thing drove right by the little hostel we booked in Strandhill. The driver momentarily stopped but then quickly sped away, slamming the door when we got up to get off after realizing it was our hostel. He ignored us and kept driving all the way back to the main depot several miles out of our way! 

We then had to hoof it back along the side of the highway, schlepping along with our luggage for several miles to return back to where we had been. Here we were rambling down a long lonely Irish highway, with all our luggage, out in the middle of nowhere. Well, at least the Irish scenery is always nice. This particular endeavor, however, was a little preview of the chore we’d take on in order to find an ancient site in the area. 

Another bus driver a couple of days later actually did let us get off there in Strandhill when we asked, and when I mentioned to him how the other driver didn’t, he responded: “Oh, that guy. Well, you know some people got their issues…You’re not the only lad to complain about that guy’s antics.” 

The formerly diffident driver who wouldn’t let us off at Strandhill at least reinforced what a gigantic miracle it had been when we experienced a bus driver going hugely out of his way for us, like one did on a different trip when we were in Germany on a particular occasion.

The Lord saw our struggle and brought some refreshing by providing some fun surf that evening at Strandhill beach. In fact, the strong howling Irish wind all a sudden calmed down before the sun went down and the chop of the rough seas laid down as the waves smoothed out. What had looked earlier like a blown-out mess, turned into a pretty fun evening of surf. It was a blessing to get out into the ocean for a few waves after a long day on that bus and that long luggage-carrying hoof we’d done. 

There were some Irish blokes out learning to surf at that sand-bottom beach break in Strandhill—lots of surf spots in Ireland break over reefs—so this sand beach created a good learning situation. I was surprised when I ended up talking to a few people there and experienced how they were stoked to meet a surfer from California. 

You don’t always get a welcome reception when surfing in other locales: in some areas the locals can sometimes go out of their way to let you know how unwelcome you are. So it is nice to get a welcome reception while surfing once in a while, especially since it isn’t the norm. 

Finding Patty’s Ole Wee Little Kirk 

 
Through some questioning and investigating, while talking to some people in the area, I found out that there was an ancient little church that the evangelist, popularly known as St. Patrick, had built with his own hands in that region. 

This was not the usual touristy type of sight one might visit while taking one of those typical tours that run regularly throughout Ireland. In fact, it was by long and unusual stretches way off the beaten path and far out of the way. It actually took a fair bit of investigation, as some people knew that it was in the area, but nobody really seemed to know how to get there exactly.  

There was a surf school there that was housed and connected to an “ole public house” which served as a local connection point where you could get a good meal for a relatively inexpensive price, and where many people, including kids and families hung out. 

After some sleuthing around, I found an older person there who knew how to get to the “Ole Kirk O’ Patrick.” 

He explained we would have to do a fair bit of hiking, as well as cross an active airport runway, and then climb up some hills, and rifle through overgrown bushes, to get to it. I expressed to him my surprise that there weren’t more people going out to visit an authentic site like that. 

“Tourists don’t come out to this area much, most are happy to see the Cathedral that is named after St. Patrick in Dublin, even though he had no real association or connection with that touristy place at all,” he explained. 

I was stoked that we were hunting down something that was actually associated with St Patrick’s life. 

Getting To The Little Church 


After making our way out to the local airport, we waited next to the runway until there was a break from airplanes landing and taking off. We then dashed across the airport runway and ran towards the grassy hills on the other side. 

After crossing the runway, I thought about what an unusual thing we had just done, “Don’t think they would let you run across an airport runway back home!” I said. 

We looked around after that mad dash, thankful we hadn’t been chopped up by a plane propeller, and started hiking uphill, paying close attention as we walked along a trail that was not very clearly marked and slightly overgrown due to lack of use. After hiking for a while and going up and down hills, losing the trail a few times and backtracking, and then wading through head-high bushes, we finally came upon the ancient ruins of the little church. 

It fit well with the real St Patrick: rough around the edges, organic, with much of the structure having eroded due to time and weather. Similarly, much of St Patrick’s real story has been eroded by fanciful legends promoted by a religious system he had nothing to do with. 

The Real St. Patrick 


The real St. Patrick is actually someone who experienced a genuine conversion and was very aware that he was saved only by the grace of Christ. 

Patrick was not Irish himself but rather came over to Ireland after being kidnapped and taken there previously as a slave, at which time he cried out to God and experienced a conversion. 

After some time, he was able to escape his slavery and return to Roman Britain. Sometime later, after having a dream where he received a Macedonian call to come back and preach the Gospel to the Irish, he was willing to once again cross the rough sea from his home in Roman Britain, and even suffer at the hands of the pagans who he reached out to, all because of the call he received from God that led him to come and reach the Irish. 

He preached the Gospel with signs and wonders following, and the early Celtic church he is associated with believed in salvation by faith through grace. Patrick was an evangelist to Ireland who preached the Gospel to the Irish and established many small churches throughout the land. 

The Gospel 


The Gospel is alive and it brings salvation to those who receive and believe upon Jesus Christ. Through the grace given by faith in Jesus Christ, mankind is reconciled to God the Father. Patrick became an ambassador of that work of reconciling the Irish people to God. 

The New Testament teaches that it is Jesus Christ who took on the whole burden of sin for us at the cross. He paid the full price for us who believe upon Him, and His grace gives us the free gift of salvation. 

Christ Is The Redeemer 


Christ did the work of salvation for us when He went to the cross. Man-made rituals, traditions, and religiosity, regardless of what institution promotes them, can never be substitutes for the work done by Jesus at Calvary. 

Jesus answered very clearly when asked what are the works that God requires of us: 

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29) 

For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life. And I will raise him up on the Last Day. (John 5:40) 

Paul echoes the same thing: 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) 

God saved us and chose us to be His…people, but not because of anything we ourselves have done. God saved us and made us His people because that was what He wanted and because of His grace. That grace was given to us through Christ Jesus... (2 Timothy 1:9) 

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior…appeared, He saved us—not by righteous works that we did ourselves, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs…of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7) 

(Note: We have a small booklet of Scriptures that focus on the grace of God. If you would like a free copy email us and we will send it to you.)

The Celtic Church 


Thus, the early Celtic Church Patrick was associated with, according to historian Ruth Tucker, sought to be centered on the New Testament, just like the disciples in the Early Church, as well as those who were part of the Reformation later. This is in stark contrast to later Catholicism, which admits to basing itself on traditions. 

The real Saint Patrick has much more to do with the Gospel and evangelism, than with the religious legends that obscure his real story. 

As historian Ruth Tucker points out, who has a PhD in history and would visit and lecture on these subjects when I was studying at Fuller Theological Seminary, Patrick of Ireland stands as one of the most misrepresented figures in Christian History. The real story has been replaced by legends, which unfortunately have been furthered by a religious system he was not actually associated with. 

Ireland itself in fact didn’t become Catholic until several centuries after Patrick’s era, when in a bid for dominance the Pope conspired to hold sway over Ireland and impose Catholicism on it. As history is often being written by the victors, both Patrick and Ireland became known as Catholic, when in fact Patrick was not, and Ireland originally wasn’t either. 

Seeking to win over the Irish people, the Pope had Patrick named a Catholic saint. Thus began a long history of Patrick being misrepresented as Catholic, and the Irish people themselves misunderstanding their own Christian roots, which are not originally Catholic, but tied back to early Celtic Christianity, which was the original Christian faith of the island. 

The early Celtic church was actually often at odds with Catholicism and clashed with it. Celtic monks sought to be free and Spirit-led and go where they felt led to go, which regularly stirred the ire of the Catholic bishops and priests, especially on the Continent, as Catholics used a religious system of parishes. They resented the free-wheeling attitude of the Celtic Ministers and Monks who were free to marry if they pleased as well, which clashed with the celibacy imposed on all Catholic priests and hierarchy. 

One of the people-groups the Celtic Christians helped reach were the Scandinavians. When Vikings raided the British Isles’ shores, many Celtic monks were taken as captives; however, in the end these captives ended up evangelizing their captors (Celtic Christian Legacy and Treasures video.) 

Having a look back at this history gives us a view of what Paul was dealing with in the Letter to the Galatians. The early Galatians had received the Gospel, but then others came along called Judaizers, and swayed them away from their foundations and influenced them towards rituals and religiosity, thus obscuring the truth. Paul had to preach and write to reestablish the Gospel with the Galatians, thus making clear: 

You who are trying to be justified by works of the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:4, NIV) 

Which is explained well in another contemporary version: 

When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. (Galatians 5:4, The Message) 

The Need For The Gospel To Be Preached 


The Gospel is alive and life-giving and brings salvation; religiosity and rituals are man’s attempt to save himself through his own works. 

Ireland, as well as so many places throughout Europe, need the Gospel to be preached once again and evangelism must be carried out with the signs and wonders of old following, to break through the walls that have grown, including dead religion. 

The truth needs to be brought once again to their shores. John Wesley rightly stated that we are always only one generation away from people slipping backwards into the world. 

Irish Inspiration 


Having been inspired by these adventures of traveling in Ireland and the adventures of Patrick the Evangelist, as well as the early Celtic Christians, we have produced a number of videos on these subjects, as well as written a song and music video, along with numerous other related videos. The links are below: 

The Real St Patrick: Get the real story versus the fables that have only obscured his legacy. 

Celtic Cry: A video we made with an original song and music I wrote. The video includes scenes and surf through Ireland. 

Columcille - Missionary to Iona: Story of the Irish missionary who was inspired by Patrick and went to reach the Picts in Scotland. 

Celtic Christian Legacy and Treasures: Some valuable history of early Celtic Christians as well as important Christian artifacts from that era in Ireland. 

The Conversion of the Vikings: The story of how these once-feared Norsemen came to belief and faith in Christ. 
 
A Visit to Lindisfarne: Also known as Holy Island, Lindisfarne is associated with early Celtic Christianity. It is considered one of the first places the Vikings raided and from which they took captives. These kidnapped Celtic Christians ended up helping reach the Vikings with the Gospel. 

Driving Through The Irish Countryside: From being followed by a cloud to finding surf in Ireland’s most remote stretch of coast.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Ministry Update: Winter 2021


We recently ministered with Centro Cristiano Esperanza in Orange County sharing a message of hope on the grace given to us through faith in Christ and His power that is available for our lives today. It was a blessed time and the presence of the Holy Spirit was very refreshing. 

We also just had a divine appointment recently when we were driving home and it was getting late, so we stopped at a motel for the night. When leaving the next morning, I forgot something in the room and had to go back. A male service worker had already begun taking care of the room. I started talking for a few minutes and as we spoke I felt led to ask if he needed prayer for anything. It turned out his good friend had just died and had the funeral coming up the next day and so he would actually really appreciate some prayer! He went on to say that he had been a believer for some years but had some ups and downs and his friend passing away had really shook him up. I spoke to him about God’s mercy and love and then prayed for him and he was clearly ministered to in a significant way. He shared afterwards that he was greatly encouraged by this divine appointment and thanked me for stepping out in faith to ask if he needed prayer! Hallelujah! 

Reflections 

 
As we have entered fully into the new decade, it causes us to reflect on the grace that the Lord has blessed us with to be able to minister in different places around the world over the last few decades, including: Latvia, Romania, Kosovo, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Argentina, Ghana, West Africa, and in the US: all over California, as well as in Arizona, Oregon, Montana, Colorado and Hawaii.

We are thankful for God’s grace to minister through us and have been blessed to experience many receive Christ, get filled with the Holy Spirit, and receive healing and deliverance. It is a blessing to see lives impacted by the Kingdom of God in these different places as we have ministered over the years. We are thankful for the different divine appointments we have experienced along the way as well. 
 

Books We’ve Been Published In 

 
We have also been blessed to have some Holy Ghost Stories published in some different books over the years, including: 

  • Kernels of Hope: Real People, Real Stories by Bob and Gail Kaku. The divine appointment sequel to the Israel story but this Holy Ghost surfing miracle is on the Coast of Spain where a divine appointment took place with some guys who just turned out to be friends of the surfer from Israel! 
  • Not By Might Nor By Power: Set Free (Book Three) by Lonnie Frisbee with Roger Sachs. Shares stories from a mission trip to Colorado with Lonnie (interestingly enough, much spiritual warfare was experienced in the Colorado trips mentioned) and a wild encounter while hiking in Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs, amongst some other things. 
If you’re interested in one of the books we’ll get you a copy for a donation of whatever you can afford—typical suggested donation is $15 per book. These are also all available at Amazon.com

Audio and Video Programs 


We have also been able to create a host of different audio and video programs that are available on different formats and platforms. They have covered lots of different topics, including those from Christian History such as the Reformation to Revivals to Biographies on Revivalists and Reformers as well as Divine Appointment Stories and Mission Adventures and many other topics. 

The programs on historical Christian figures are amongst our more popular topics on different sites. I see now more than ever the dire need for programs like ours that tell the history that has largely been ignored by secular institutions. Moreover, our programs do it from a uniquely Spirit-filled perspective which is something that is greatly lacking in this arena. For example, our recent program we put out on Charles Finney talked about his powerful Baptism in the Holy Spirit, others who’ve done programs on Finney have omitted this important aspect of his life and ministry, not even mentioning it at all. 

Here is an endorsement of our ministry (link: https://youtu.be/TYtTLR5K_pY) from a historical figure himself, Harald Bredesen, one of the fathers of the Charismatic Renewal, and some of what he had to say in his endorsement of our ministry: 

Of all the ministries I’ve worked with, there is none that I have the greatest confidence in the purity of the motivation and the fact that it was the Holy Spirit who gave birth to it than Grace World Mission, led by its founders, Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux...I’ve seen the sacrifice; I’ve seen the zeal; I’ve seen the Spirit-ledness…and I am so happy to be a part of it—I hope you will be and will support it as well... I’m sure He’ll bless you for it.  

We greatly appreciate your prayers and support! 
God bless! 
Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Christmas Blessings


The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” 

Luke 1:35


When you take a good look at the Christmas narrative it is amazing how much the Holy Spirit is mentioned again and again. Luke’s account stresses the role of the Holy Spirit in a major way and this continues on through his other book called Acts.


Even more amazing is that the same Holy Spirit is given to us freely as believers. Sometimes we don’t know how much we need something until a unique situation displays our need. 


We were hiking through a desert area up to a mountain on one occasion when we ran out of water in the hot desert section of the hike. How quickly the body feels its lack! Our mouths quickly became parched and the heat amplified our need, as our bodies ached and weakness continued to grow. We finally dragged ourselves up into the cooler mountain area where there was a campground and a water spigot, hallelujah! Water never tasted so good!!


Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit is like the water we need to live. In fact, He referred to the Holy Spirit as living water. Billy Graham says in his book Peace with God that we should recognize our need for the Holy Spirit and pray that God not only fill us and help us but that we ask the Holy Spirit to take over in our lives so that we will find joy and peace, the fruits of the Spirit, as we yield completely to Him.


Praise God! Jesus came born in a manger and died on the cross to pay for our sins and freely give us favor with God the Father, that we might justified by grace and have peace with God. He gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us as we walk with God. 


May the Lord renew and refresh you in the power of the Holy Spirit this Christmas and into the New Year in the name of Jesus Christ who came to give us life!


Bryan, Mercedes 

and Patrick Marleaux


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! The Reformation Simplified and the Early Pilgrims of America

Video: Plymouth's Pilgrims and the Christian Faith

As big a concept as “The Reformation” may sound, it really boils down to just a simple thing, which is those back in history who had personally experienced God’s grace and wanted to share it with others! 

 

Those reformers back in the Medieval Period who experienced this amazing grace saw that it was the central theme of the New Testament. They thus wanted others to know the truth but instead were met with resistance, a stubborn refusal to listen, and persecution. 

 

Grace is inherently free: its meaning in the Bible is “unmerited favor”. This grace is given freely to us simply through faith in Christ and not by any works or any performance of our own: 

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)

 

“My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:40) (There is a long list of Scriptures like this, which speak of God’s grace and mercy which we have compiled. You can have a free booklet of them sent to you by emailing us at info@graceworldmission.org).

 

Instead of receiving that grace themselves, stubborn adherence to dead traditions and rituals that garnered lucrative donations kept the institutional Church from listening and caused them to reject the truth.

 

Jesus and the Pharisees 

 

This is a story that goes all the way back to Jesus and the Pharisees: Christ appears on the scene fulfilling prophecy after prophecy to demonstrate who He is. He first speaks the truth in love, many receive His message and mercy, but the Pharisees—who are the religious leaders of that time—are so entrenched in their traditions and rituals that they attack Him instead of listening, so Jesus must confront their wayward behavior: 

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matthew 23:13)

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are…” (Matthew 23:15)

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness…You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:23-24)

 

Jesus admonished his followers not to act like them: 

 

“All their works they do to be seen by men... They love to sit uppermost at feasts, and to have the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called Rabbi by men. But you shall not suffer yourselves to be called Rabbi. For one is your Master, that is, Christ, and you are all brethren. And call no man upon the earth your father, for there is but one your Father, and he is in heaven. Do not be called teachers, for there is but one your Teacher, and he is Christ. He who is greatest among you will be your servant. But whosoever exalts himself, shall be brought low. And he who humbles himself, shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:5-12)

 

Jesus offered grace and mercy to all and many received Him, but the Pharisees instead stubbornly held to their traditions and rituals and wouldn’t, so He confronted their errors. 

 

This Pattern Continued Through The Bible 

 

Even in the Early Church there were already tendencies to pollute the Gospel with legalism and works of the law. There were those amongst the Pharisees who had become Christians; however, they tried to then force legalistic burdens on other Christians.

 

The Apostle Peter wouldn’t stand for it for a moment and got up at the Council of Jerusalem and laid out the truth in dramatic fashion:

 

“Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.’” (Acts 15:5)

 

Peter would have none of it and said:

 

“Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”  Acts 15:10-11 [Emphasis mine]

 

That statement: “No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.” Is what the Reformation is all about. While speaking the truth about God’s grace, the error which has been embraced and pedaled by the religious establishment must also be confronted. 

 

It is important to notice that the truth about the Gospel was more important than any seeming disruption to so-called unity, the very need for a council shows there was not perfect unity in the first place.

 

This is a microcosm of the Reformation. Just as Peter experienced God’s grace and knew it to be the truth and stood up for it, others in history stood up for it as well and became reformers.

 

Enter Paul the Apostle 

 

Paul had actually been a Pharisee himself but got saved in dramatic fashion on the road to Damascus while on the way to persecute more Christians.

 

Having experienced such amazing grace, he became the emissary of God’s grace. Having been a Pharisee, he disdained any attempt of the Early Church in any way to return to the legalism of the Pharisees.

 

The Letter to the Galatians is itself an epistle of grace that also confronts the pharisaical slide into legalism that was happening in the new church in the region of Galatia. Paul even had to straighten out his contemporary leader Peter in the letter because of Peter’s compromising on this subject.

 

Paul wrote strongly that the Galatian Christians had been saved by grace and that the way in is indeed the way on. They began in grace and must continue on in it, as it is the path to life, liberty, and revival.

 

Paul concludes that we are to live by the Holy Spirit: live a personally revived life in Christ led by His Holy Spirit.

 

Paul’s Words Revived the Body of Christ 

 

Luther and other reformers had experienced this grace and mercy of Christ and simply wanted others in the Body of Christ to know and experience it as well. The Catholic Church, however, like the Pharisees, refused the grace of God and held to its traditions instead, and so like the Pharisees was confronted with its error in the process.

 

Martin Luther had struggled under a burden of rituals and rules for a long, long, dark period as a monk and a Catholic priest himself.

 

He was weighed down under this impossible burden of trying to make payment himself for his sin through rituals of the Church and found no peace at all in the Catholic rituals prescribed to him.

 

But then the light broke forth on him. He was sent away to study the Bible as a way to rid the monastery of his onerous presence since he was a constant bother by always coming to the confessional. (Study of the Bible not being a normal part of the program for the priesthood.)

 

As he was wrestling with Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Luther began to understand that Jesus had taken on our sin on the cross and all he needed to do was believe upon Christ.

 

He says “… I then understood that through grace and sheer mercy [Christ] justifies us through faith in Him. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn…” 

 

What a heavy burden was lifted off of Luther’s back as he understood that Jesus has paid the price on the cross and one doesn’t need to be under this horrible burden of trying to pay for sin themselves!

 

There in a nutshell is what the Reformation is all about: The grace and love of God is experienced and sought to be shared, but instead the establishment, just like the Pharisees reacting to Jesus, refuse to listen!

 

The Reformation Spread and Formed Revival Movements

 

In spite of opposition from the establishment, the Reformation spread and later formed revival movements.

 

The early Puritans in the United Kingdom were a revival movement, according to historian Sydney Ahlstrom, and are directly tied to the Reformation. Grace to them was something that should be known and experienced in the heart and not mere head knowledge; they thus can be seen as early Protestant mystics. 

 

Persecution and a lack of freedom caused them to seek refuge in a new land across the sea where they could worship as they felt led; this new land came to be called America. 

 

The first sustaining colony in America—others had been attempted earlier like Jamestown and folded—was brought forth by those Puritans, Separatists, and Independents* who came across on the Mayflower. (*Separatists wanted to separate from the Church of England, while others originally wanted to purify it from within, hence the more classical name Puritan, though all three of the above mentioned were of Puritan stock.)

 

They took up the colony “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian Faith” which they wrote in their charter upon landing at Plymouth Rock. 

 

The Great Commission indeed had been a strong theme amongst Puritan preachers of all branches of Puritan faith in England and motivated this journey of leaving all behind and going like Abraham to a land that they knew not, to be lights for the Gospel in the new world. 

 

America’s first sustaining colony was thus founded by a group of outcasts who had been touched by the Reformation and revival and who came with the goal of advancing the Christian Faith. It has been a land where revivals have taken place ever since.

 

Travel Insights 

 

While traveling through Europe on different mission trips, we have been able to visit some different sights connected with the Reformation and different reformers.

 

We have been to some of the places connected with the Reformers William Tyndale, John Knox, and Martin Luther.

 

Each of these reformers experienced God’s grace and sought to return to the Word of God as the foundation for the Body of Christ. Having experienced the grace of God personally and intimately, they desired that others should also experience this glorious grace of Christ given freely and which comes simply through faith in Christ Jesus.

 

Reflecting on that grace and these reformers, I wrote a little song called Grace Alone about their suffering, which came to me on one of those trips and made a video about it, which you can check out by clicking here. (Direct link: https://youtu.be/m7oDc--KlFk)

 

We also have a video about the Christian Faith of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock which was shot right on location in Plymouth, Massachusetts. You can check it out by clicking here! (Direct link: https://youtu.be/xRM3-jqexe0)

 

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

"I am a Wycliffite and a Hussite." - Martin Luther

Video: John Wycliffe: Morning Star of the Reformation

We were ministering at a church in London last year, where we experienced a powerful move of the Holy Spirit. Many of the those who came to the meetings got blessed as the Holy Spirit poured out, empowered, healed, and filled those there.
 
We later on in the trip ministered at one of their sister churches in Paris. There was a lot of warfare and difficultly getting to this church in Paris, especially with a crazy parking fiasco, that had us under serious stress and warfare. 
 
The pastor said when we finally got into the building, albeit a bit late, “I believe the Lord will manifest His power as you minister!” That was an encouraging word after such a struggle and distraction.
 
It turned out that he nailed that! The Holy Spirit moved in radical power and some people were knocked backwards, almost looking like they were hit by a bomb blast as the Holy Spirit poured onto them when we prayed for them. We had a revival time as the Lord poured out His power at the service that day.

Sometimes God’s power is strongest when we were are at our weakest, being so ruffled from the parking mess I was quite distracted going in to the service, but surprised and rejoiced by the way the Lord moved! Hallelujah!
 
Well in between ministry, when things are a little calmer, we like to visit, when the opportunity arises, some of the places that tell something about some of the history of the area, especially when it involves something about Christian History, revivals of the past, or the Reformation.
 
We had a few unexpected surprises in that vein on the last trip. One of them was while we were going through London after that aforementioned ministry there, before heading off to France. 
 
We were in the area of the British Library and decided to pop in for a visit.  We’d been there before, but I have figured out over time and visits, that they tend to change their exhibitions of historical books and artifacts quite regularly.
 
As we walked up to the display cases, we were stoked to come upon one of the last remaining Wycliffe Bibles in the world. John Wycliffe is known as the Morning Star of the Reformation, meaning he was a forerunner to many of the things that Martin Luther took on later.
 
The Reformation 
 
When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31st, 1517, it turned out that it was the spark that initiated the Protestant Reformation.
 
The Pope’s response to Luther’s Theses was: “Who is this drunken German? I’ll have that heretic burned at the stake within two weeks!” Well, it didn’t really go the way the Pope said, even though popes had done just that with dissenters many times; the Word of God was on Luther’s side and he wouldn’t be so easily silenced.  Many were impacted by the truth Luther was bringing forth and turning back to biblically-based faith and supporting Luther.
 
As Luther’s confrontation of church abuses caught fire and spread, another tactic was tried by Rome: Have Luther debate the Catholic theologian Johann Eck. Known as a master debater, they figured Eck would bury Luther and make quick work of him. 
 
Luther was a Catholic priest himself, but through reading the Bible, his spiritual eyes had been opened to see that the Catholic Church had long since abandoned its roots and substituted a host of money-making schemes like indulgences (papers declaring forgiveness of sins when the proper donation was made which was no less than selling forgiveness) and the veneration of relics (bits of bone allegedly from Saints of the past). These relics, according to the Catholic Church, could confer time off purgatory when viewed along with the always demanded stipulated donation.
 
Rome didn’t realize the depth of insight, wisdom, and knowledge that Luther had garnered from studying the Word of God and they underestimated his ability.
 
Luther rose to the occasion in the debate with Eck and was an equal match in his command of Christian History and scriptural truth. Luther made it clear, citing early Church Councils, that it was none other than the Catholic Church itself, that had strayed from its original roots and teachings.
 
Eck came back with an accusation that Luther was a Wycliffite and a Hussite.
 
During a break in the debate, Luther searched the library to find out that both John Wycliffe and Jan Hus were leaders that had attempted to bring reform in previous centuries before him, but were condemned as heretics for seeking to turn the Catholic Church back to its foundations in the Word. 
 
Hus was burned at the stake, and while Wycliffe had escaped their clutches while alive, his bones were dug up after he died and were burned as well. The implication was clear: Luther better cool it or he could face the same fate. 
 
Instead of shrinking back in fear, Luther came back as the debate resumed and declared boldly: “I am a  Wycliffite and a Hussite!” In the end, the debate only served to elevate Luther’s status, the last thing they wanted.
 
Wycliffe and Hus
 
John Wycliffe and Jan Hus were forerunners of the Reformation.
 
Jan Hus, who was from Bohemia (modern-day Czech Region) was also a Catholic priest who began to see the errors the Catholic Church had embraced and sought to bring reform. Hus was greatly influenced by Wycliffe’s writing and confronted the Pope’s claim that he was a mediator between God and man, which the Pope had made at the Fourth Lateran Council. This meant the Pope was above a normal person and equated himself with the savior. This was a gross contradiction of the Scriptures, which say emphatically that there is only one mediator between God and man: Jesus Christ!
 
Hus also said that it is Jesus Christ who is the head of the church and not the pope, which is of course what the New Testament Scriptures teach in Col. 1:18.  Hus was persecuted and burned at the stake in the year 1415 for his efforts to turn the church back to the Word of God. He actually made a prophecy right before he died: "You are now going to burn a goose, but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil." (Hus' name means goose in the Czech language.) This was fulfilled through Luther 100 years later. Luther has been pictured with a swan in some paintings to show the fulfillment of that prophecy.
 
John Wycliffe, is known as the Morning Star of the Reformation.
 
Wycliffe lived in the mid and latter 1300’s and attended Oxford University. He was a stalwart figure there and in the church. In fact, Oxford’s early reputation in scholarship owes much to Wycliffe. Over time, Wycliffe saw the way the Catholic Church had drifted away from the anchor of truth in the Scriptures during the Medieval Period. Its wealth and opulence had corrupted it, and it had replaced the Gospel with money-making rituals and superstitions like relics and indulgences and the cult of the saints.
 
This constant drift away from the truth seems endemic in humankind’s very existence. Paul the Apostle had to write, not too long after planting the Gospel in Galatia, quite strongly to the Galatians to deal with their similar drift away from the Gospel and confront their return to clinging to rituals and dead works. This is why the Book of Galatians was a centerpiece in reform and one Luther relied on quite heavily during the Reformation.
 
Much like Luther later, Wycliffe had become quite disturbed by these practices. While reading the Bible Wycliffe, much like other reformers including Luther, found no relics, indulgences, purgatory, saint worship, nor prayers to saints; no holy water, no processions or the like, through which the Catholic Church lavishly garnered lucrative donations. In fact, these were more aligned with pagan practices. Nor did he see that the Pope, nor priests, had the place to confer and issue forgiveness. Like Luther, he saw in the Bible that it was only faith in Christ which was taught as necessary for receiving forgiveness and salvation.
 
He thus felt that he should put the Bible into the hands of the people in their own language that they may see for themselves that it is faith in Christ that brings salvation and not all these rituals the church was using as replacements for the Gospel.
 
Like Martin Luther, and William Tyndale later, Wycliffe thus worked to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular language of the people: in his case the English of Great Britain, and make it accessible to all, not just priests and bishops. 
 
This was a high crime at that time, the Catholic Church at the Synod of Toulouse in 1229 officially forbade the laity to even possess a Bible—yes, as crazy as it sounds, having a Bible according to the Catholic Church was a crime—and they also opposed vernacular translations. They allowed only Latin as the permitted language for the Bible.
 
Latin was a long dead language that very, very, few could read and comprehend. It was obvious that keeping the Bible in Latin could keep the people in the dark regarding all the rituals the Church had used to replace the Gospel. 
 
Wycliffe saw the need for the Bible to be in the language of the people and worked to translate and distribute the Bible to the common person, who he felt could read and understand it and be blessed by it, regardless of the Catholic Church’s prohibitions.
 
He employed common people to help him as well in these endeavors, and in so doing was employing that New Testament practice that Luther highlighted later as well called: “The Priesthood of all Believers.”
 
Wycliffe managed to do all this in the last nine years of his life; God saved the best for last. Like Corey Ten Boon, he served God the most in his latter years, as it is never too late in God’s Kingdom.
 
Wycliffe made a valiant effort in his translating, but the Latin was all he had access to in order to translate the Bible into English. He and his helpers, called Lollards, who he sent out to preach and distribute Bibles, also helped copy the translations by hand, which was a very long, and painstakingly slow process.
 
Luther and Tyndale, roughly a century and a half later after Wycliffe, would have the advantage not only of the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg to make copies of the Bible they translated, but they also had access to a Greek text of the New Testament that had been recently assembled and published in their time by Desiderius Erasmus. Those advances greatly helped further their efforts and fanned the spread of the Reformation, which in turn spawned revivals in later times.
 
Wycliffe stands as a Morning Star of the Reformation, a forerunner in his effort to bring reform and make the Bible available in the language of the people. His efforts made a great contribution and helped lay a foundation for the later Reformation and subsequent revivals. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Ministry Update: Summer 2020




Wedding Anniversary


We celebrated our 28th Wedding Anniversary this June! We thank the Lord for His grace, mercy, and healing power of the Holy Spirit, for keeping us rooted and grounded in His love. We are grateful for the presence of Christ that has sustained us over the years! We were able to get up to Yosemite National Park, as things opened up a bit, and celebrate the Lord’s goodness over the years. The Bible illustrates how it is important to celebrate and remember all of God’s blessings!

We have been doing quite a bit of ministry activity (online and in other ways) during what is one of the most unusual years so far in recent memory with COVID19 and civil unrest.

It was recently Pentecost Sunday. Some years it passes by with nobody even mentioning it. However, with all the upheaval in recent times, many people in the Body of Christ were actually praying for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we joined in online, and otherwise, with a number of those meetings and are encouraged to see fresh hunger in the Body of Christ for the power of the Holy Spirit! Praise God!

Billy Graham said in one of his last major conferences on evangelism: “We need to get back to the Book of Acts and I mean specifically Acts Chapter 2 and the power of the Holy Spirit.” He went on to say that this is the only way we can have hope of reaching this generation. As one of the most renowned preachers in American history, Billy Graham in his writings makes the point that reliance on the Holy Spirit is completely biblical and central to the Christian faith, and in fact epitomizes the goal of the Christian life.



Online Outpouring


Amongst recent meeting we’ve done, online and otherwise, one of the recent highlights for us was doing an online meeting with some friends up along the Central Coast of California. We had a blessed time of renewal and refreshing as the Holy Spirit poured down on us all in power when we moved into a prayer time. It was awesome to experience the Holy Spirit moving on all who joined in, releasing words and prophecies, and insights, from different people in attendance. The “priesthood of all believers” was evident and in action.


There were actually a number of younger people in attendance who were powerfully touched and ministered to as we prayed over them. We are doing our part to reach into, and empower and equip, the next generation! Praise God that the Lord’s power is not limited, or reduced, by doing things online through still-developing Zoom technology. We have also experienced people being filled, empowered, and encouraged in other online meetings we’ve done!



Divine Appointments


As things have opened up a little more, we’ve had some divine appointments, in person and otherwise.


I had one recently with a brand-new Christian I met. He was seeking direction for his life and I was able to share with him, and then pray over him about how the Holy Spirit will help lead us towards the Heavenly Father’s purposes for our life in Jesus’ Name. He was touched by the Lord and very thankful, hallelujah!


I also talked, shared and prayed with a man I met from Syria who had been through many hard times. He had come to Christ after being a Physics professor and experiencing great loss, including the death of his wife at the hands of Communist forces who kidnapped and killed her. He said he found God in the midst of his struggles, which he stated is the most important thing, and shared how much he appreciated being in America now! He was blessed that I took the time to listen to his story and then pray for him.


We also received a call from Canada from a brother in Christ who shared how a word we’d given him on our last trip there had deeply ministered to him and how the Lord had brought it now to fulfillment! Praise God!



More Online Activity


We were doing podcasts way before they became a popular thing and in fact have a plethora of podcasts episodes available online that cover different teachings from books of the New Testament as well as events in Christian History. We have begun to put some programs on SoundCloud as well, which offers fairly easy access. Our latest uploads to SoundCloud include the “Azusa Street Pentecostal Outpouring” and “Charles Finney’s Conversion and Baptism in the Holy Spirit.” You can access all our SoundCloud episodes here: soundcloud.com/graceworldmission and our more complete list on our Grace Alone program on iTunes/Apple Podcasts.


Another of our recent online pieces was about the Mother’s Day Outpouring in Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, later renamed The Anaheim Vineyard, and my own subsequent baptism in the Holy Spirit there back in the day.


We in fact received some blessed responses from people, including a touching response from a reader who wrote to tell us how impacted she was by the article. She shared how blessed she was by the fire and power and anointing of the Holy Spirit that touched her while reading the article, as well as when we ministered at some meetings in her area up in Northern California previously. If you want to read that recent article you can do so by following this link: http://gwmgracenotes.blogspot.com/2020/05/40th-anniversary-of-mothers-day.html


It is important to remember that both the Pentecostal/Azusa Street Revival, as well as the Jesus People Revival, were preceded by civil unrest and national distress. Things got shaken up before those outpourings took place.


We are stoked on the way the Holy Spirit has continually moved in meetings we’ve done whether in person or online.


Let us all pray together that the larger Body of Christ will have a fresh widespread outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our time as well!


Thank you for your prayers and support! We really appreciate it!


God bless!

Bryan and Mercedes Marleaux