A REPORT ON OUR ELECTRONIC OUTREACH AND MUCH, MUCH MORE
Electronic outreach is the new street evangelism, and the impact of our electronic outreach at Holy Cross is skyrocketing as an ever growing number of lives are being touched locally, nationally, and (yes!) globally by our ministry. In my many years as pastor of Holy Cross I have never seen anything like it before!
Just over a year ago we went on the air for the first time with The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast. Believe me, it was a big step of faith — really a huge leap of faith. We knew that God was leading us to take to the airwaves, but we also knew that He would have to provide the means.
When we first went on the air it was with the understanding that we could cancel the program with proper notice if necessary. That gave us a safety net, but we never really contemplated the possibility of cancelling the broadcast after we began.
We stepped out in faith, and God stepped in to meet our needs. Even before the first episode was aired a supporter on the east coast covered the cost of our inaugural broadcast. That reassured us of God’s leading and of his provision, and we have never looked back.
As we were approaching the end of our first year on the air I took to the pulpit to tell our congregation that we needed to expand our radio outreach. At the time, our 30 minute radio broadcast was heard Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM, on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and on KCRO Radio 106.7 FM in Lincoln, Nebraska. By adding an evening broadcast we could reach a whole new listening audience. We did not have the financial means to double our air time in Omaha and Lincoln, but I asked our parish family to pray that God would make a way.
And did God answer our prayers? Did He ever! Our Heavenly Father quickly answered our prayers, making it possible to add evening broadcasts in both Omaha and Lincoln. Beginning with our 51st weekly broadcast our 30 minute Faith Once Delivered radio program was on the air Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM and Sunday evenings at 9:30 PM on both 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln!
KCRO Radio is Nebraska’s premier Christian radio station, and that is why it was our choice for launching our radio ministry. KCRO has been on the air for 40 years, and can be heard by 1.3 million people in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. When people in our area think of Christian radio, they think KCRO.
KCRO Radio carries such popular Christian radio programs as Focus on the Family founded by Dr. James Dobson, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah, Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll, Jay Sekulow Live, The Dave Ramsey Show, and Adventures in Odyssey, just to name a few.
But our radio outreach goes far beyond eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast is heard locally, nationally and globally over the Internet. Listeners can hear both our Saturday morning and Sunday evening broadcasts by simply going to kcro.com and clicking Listen Live. That’s,
With God’s continued blessing, help and guidance we hope to remain on the air until the moment when we hear the trumpet of God and the shout of the archangel, and see our Lord coming in glory!
You can partner with us and help us in our outreach. Just go to our parish website. On the Home page you will see a yellow “Donate” button. Just click it, and you will be able to contribute safely and securely with PayPal. Here is the link:
In addition to our twice weekly radio broadcasts, every one of our radio broadcasts are archived and can be heard for free anytime, on demand, as Podcasts. Here is the link:
We have listeners in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, all across the United States, and in other parts of the world. We hear from them, and the impact our ministry is having on their lives make us want to expand our electronic outreach even further.
The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast fuels all other aspects of our ever expanding outreach which includes social media, the Holy Cross parish website, the Holy Cross Update, and Fr. Novak’s Blog.
On October 10th, I gathered some statistical information to share with our congregation. The statistics were very encouraging. The numbers of readers and visitors just keeps going up and up and up!
Very few people outside of their own congregation read a local pastor’s blog. Yet, last month Fr. Novak’s Blog had 1,943 views! Over 30 days that comes to 65 readers per day! And the numbers just keep increasing. In the first ten days of October, Fr. Novak’s Blog had 840 readers. That’s 84 per day — a 29% increase over last month’s daily average! If that keeps up, we will have more than 2,500 readers in the month of October!
And we have not even promoted Fr. Novak’s Blog on the radio. Readers would have to learn about it from other sources such as our parish website, Facebook page, The Holy Cross Update, or by word of mouth.
Every broadcast of The Faith Once Delivered brings more new viewers to our parish Facebook page. In all of the years that we have had a Facebook page I have never seen anything like it before. We now have 478 Followers. A follower is essentially a subscriber. That means that nearly 500 households want to see everything we post. And that does not even take into consideration the thousands that visit our page from time to time. The number of visitors just keeps increasing, and right now is up 21% over last month!
The readership of the Holy Cross Update continues to expand as well. Not only is our distribution list growing, but readers also forward it on to family and friends. In addition, it is sometimes referenced on Fr. Novak’s Blog, in our social media outreach, and is promoted on our parish website. Friends of Holy Cross can receive the Holy Cross Update by email absolutely free for the asking. All they need to do is to write me and ask to be added to the distribution list. You can write me at:
FUTURE OUTREACH PLANS
Joel chapter 2 is a prophecy of the End Times and the Day of the LORD. In verse 28 it says:
And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
Jesus has given us a Commission in these Latter Days:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
You can read all about how this proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to all nations fits into End Time events by reading Matthew 24:3-31. The Commission to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom (v. 14) is virtually in the centre of those 29 verses in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse. Yet, few today are proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. They are out there, but we are a small remnant. Most professing Christians do not even know that there will be a Kingdom of God established on earth when King Messiah returns.
Inspired by the Spirit of God we need to continue to “dream dreams and see visions” as Joel and other prophets foretold, and be willing to step out in faith. If electronic outreach is the new street evangelism, and it is, then we need to be continually expanding our electronic outreach. Our future goals must include the live broadcasting of our Pulpit ministry on Facebook, starting a Youtube television channel and producing programming for it, increasing our radio outreach by going to a daily broadcast and then increasing the number of stations carrying our broadcasts, and eventually developing a weekly program for Christian satellite TV. And these dreams and visions are just for starters!
I do not know when all of this will happen, but I do know that the Messiah Yeshua has given his people a Commission to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to all nations and is looking for willing co-workers to advance his mission in the world, and that He is willing empower us to do the work. Are we willing to do it? If we are faithful, we will be provided with the means: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
REMODELING OUR SANCTUARY
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic we had begun to renovate our sanctuary. We made a very good start, but then the lockdowns began. While Covid-19 is still with us, the lockdowns have ended. Although the pandemic is still impacting what we do at Holy Cross, and what we do not do, the Work of our congregation continues. We have been holding regular public Services again since June.
While the pandemic and the lockdowns kept us from restoring and observing the Spring “feasts of the LORD,” we were able to observe the Fall feasts as holy convocations. From now on we will continue to observe God’s divinely instituted Holy days.
With the Fall feasts over, we have turned our attention once again to remodeling our sanctuary. We have already restored the two tablets of the Law to our (liturgically) eastern wall. This is an ancient tradition that I am very happy to see restored.
The Gospel arrived in Britain in the year 37 CE, a mere six years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Yeshua, Jesus, with the coming of Joseph of Arimathea and his companions from the holy city of Jerusalem. Joseph of Arimathea was not only the man who buried Jesus in his own new tomb, but he was a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling Council of the people of Israel.
The form of Christianity planted in the British Isles was the authentic Judaeo-Christianity of the apostles. Early British Christianity was deeply rooted in Judaism. The faith and practice of the Celtic and English Christians before the arrival of the Roman mission led by Augustine 560 years later in 597 CE, and then as an increasingly pressured and then persecuted minority until they was finally stamped out in the aftermath of the brutal Norman Conquest on 1066 CE, was deeply rooted and firmly grounded in the faith of Israel.
At Holy Cross we are committed to our Celtic and English spiritual heritage, and to the Jewish roots of our faith. As the apostle Paul wrote:
For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the [Jewish] root and fatness of the olive tree [Israel], do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the [Jewish] root supports you (Romans 11:16-18.
We understand that we do not support the root, but the root — the patriarchs, prophets, priests, teachers, and the righteous men and women of Israel — supports us, and that we are partakers of the root and fatness of God’s olive tree which is Israel.
If you want to learn about the truly ancient and apostolic beliefs and practices of the ancient British Christians you will want to read:
The Celtic Church in Britain, by Dr. Leslie Hardinge. It is the best book I have ever read on the subject. It is a scholarly book though, and not an easy read. The author has three earned masters and a doctorate. The book is in its 95th edition! It is eye opening and inspiring. We have a goodly heritage. You can order The Celtic Church in Britain here:
By reading The Celtic Church in Britain, by Hardinge you will see that what we are teaching and restoring at Holy Cross is not something new, but something ancient, authentic and original. We are recovering our roots.
If you visit a very old Anglican (Latin for “English”) church-building you will see the two tablets of the Decalogue hanging on the wall in the sanctuary. If you visit virtually any synagogue in the world you will see the same thing. The continuity is obvious and striking.
In September I was struck by photographs that I saw of an Episcopal (Anglican/English) church in New York that is more than 200 years old and goes back to the early years of our Republic. In the photo of the sanctuary of this beautiful old church (that looks remarkably like a synagogue — as so many old Anglican churches did) I could see the pulpit, the lectern, and the Lord’s Table. Above the Lord’s Table there were two dark coloured plaques. Those are the tablets of the Law.
Above the two tablets of the Law (the Decalogue or Ten Commandments) there is a beautifully done representation of the Pillar of Cloud that led the people of Israel on their pilgrim journey from Egyptian bondage to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. The Shekhinah (Biblical Hebrew: שכינה šekīnah) — the glory of the Divine presence of God — was in the Pilllar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. This is represented by the Divine Name of God יהוה (Yehovah, Anglicised as Jehovah) in the centre. The effect was stunning. It drew the heart to prayer.
The church-building that I saw in the photographs is very special. It is on the edge of ground zero in New York. On September 11, 2001, in the chaos of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers, first responders would briefly retreat into this beautiful old church to breathe a little clean air, get a drink of water, wash the toxic dust from their eyes, and to offer a prayer before the Holy Name of God above the altar before heading back into the danger, the agony and the death of that terrible day.
If any of the friends of our parish would like to see a photograph of the sanctuary, and a close up of the Pillar of Cloud embodying the Shekhinah glory of God, please email me and I will email them out to you:
We have already restored the two tablets of the Law (the tablets of the Ten Commandments) to our sanctuary. They are beautifully done, and are the work of our local artisan and parish family member, Susan B.
Just this week Susan agreed to begin the next phase of our remodeling. She will create a plaque of the Pillar of Cloud representing the Shekinah glory of the Divine presence, with God’s Holy Name יהוה in its centre. The new artwork will replace the cross which currently hangs above the tablets of the Law. The cross will then be returned to its original place on the (liturgically) north wall of the sanctuary.
This is a return to our ancient practice. Dr. Percy Dearmer writes in The Parson’s Handbook, that while a cross was “sometimes” on or above the Lord’s Table before the Reformation, “it was by no means the rule… The idea that an altar is incomplete without a cross needs to be strenuously combated. Indeed, although altar crosses and crucifixes are certainly included under the [ornaments] rubric, there is much to be said both from a ceremonial and theological point of view against their use on the altar.”
For years we did not have a cross or crucifix on or above the Lord’s Table. We only moved our current one from the north wall to above the God’s Board in an effort to please those who were not of our English spiritual tradition. We are now returning to the ancient practice, and will be doing it beautifully to the glory of God. I will keep you up to date on how the work progresses. Let us keep Susan in our prayers as she uses her God-given talents for the glory of God.
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
A careful reading of the four Gospels and the Book of Acts will demonstrate that the Gospel that Yeshua, his apostles and the early disciples proclaimed was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — and nothing else.
Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He said that the reason that he was sent by God was to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom. He sent the twelve out to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, and commissioned his disciples — including us — to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to all people.
The true Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is the Message that Yeshua, Jesus proclaimed, not merely a message about him. Sadly, most Christians today do not even know about the coming Kingdom of God. If they have ever thought about it, most think that the Kingdom of God is the “church” or a mystical experience within ones heart after accepting Jesus. The Message of Yeshua has become a message about Yeshua. The Good News of the Kingdom of God has been replaced by a message about dying and going to heaven which comes from pagan Greek Platonism, not from the Holy Scriptures.
The Scriptures are clear:
Now as they heard these things, He (Jesus) spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman [meaning Jesus] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:11-12).
The Kingdom comes when King Messiah returns.
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:31-34).
We pray “Thy kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer because it is still future. Yes, we are citizens of the Kingdom now, but the Kingdom itself is not yet. The Bible calls us ambassadors of God because this world is still under the domination of satan, the god of this world. But that will all change. The Kingdom of God will come.
Our risen Lord, the nobleman of the Parable of the Minas, has ascended into heaven to receive a Kingdom and to return. When he returns he will sit on the throne of his glory, which is the throne of his father David, in the holy city of Jerusalem. Then he will welcome his faithful disciples into the Kingdom: “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 6:34).
When the Book of Acts closes we find the apostle Paul under house arrest in Rome awaiting martyrdom. And what is he proclaiming? The “Roman Road”? “The Four Spiritual Laws”? “Receiving Jesus into your heart so you can go to heaven when you die”? No! He was proclaiming the Kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus:
Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him (Acts 28:30-31).
More than 1,850 years ago, in his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin Martyr wrote:
“I and every other completely orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, followed by a thousand years in the rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others” (c. 160 CE).
Such quotes can easily be multiplied many times over. The Ante-Nicene Christians were Premillennialists. Early Christianity was thoroughly Premillennialist. The early Christians anticipated the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth with great joy. It was the Good News, the Gospel!
Want to learn about the true Gospel — the Good News of the Kingdom of God? This week we will be completing a six part series on The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast titled, “What is the Kingdom of God?” You can hear episode six this Saturday morning, October 17th on KCRO radio, either over the airwaves or the Internet.
Or, better yet, you can hear the entire series as podcasts. They are episodes 50 through 55 and aired from September 12th through October 17th. You can access them here:
THIS WEEK'S RADIO BROADCAST — HOW MANY RESURRECTIONS ARE THERE?
Amillennialists believe in one literal resurrection of the dead. Most Premillennialists believe in two resurrections: the resurrection of the saved at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, and the resurrection of the lost at the end of the thousand years. But there are other Premillennialists who believe in three resurrections during the Millennial Kingdom. Who is right? How many resurrections are there?
Tune in to The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast this Saturday, October 17th at 9:30 AM (Central Time) to find out. We will be taking a thorough look at what the Bible really says. The truth may not only surprise you, but will fill you with hope and with love for our loving, compassionate and merciful heavenly Father. God doesn’t just love, He is love. God loves each of us as though there were only one of us.
You cannot share the Gospel of the Kingdom of God unless you know what the Kingdom of God really is. When you come to see and understand the incredible love and mercy of God, and the wonder of God’s world of tomorrow, you will understand why the Gospel is such Good News. Life now and that more abundantly, and eternal life in the Kingdom of God! Paradise Lost in Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3 become Paradise Restored in revelation chapters 20, 21, and 22. You will want to share the Good News with everyone you know. Be sure to tune in, and invite your family and friends to listen as well.
The Faith Once Delivered Radio broadcast can be heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM and Sunday evening at 9:30 PM (Central Time) on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, Nebraska, or anywhere in the world over the Internet. Just go to the KCRO website and click Listen Live:
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
New posts are made on the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page regularly. We hope that you will visit our Facebook page and check back with it often. Better yet, visit our Facebook page and become a Follower. That way you will not miss a single post.
You can access the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page here:
OUR MISSION AT HOLY CROSS
At Holy Cross parish we are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, teaching the faith which was once delivered in the first century (Jude 3), and preparing a people for the coming of the Lord. Come and join us. Everyone is welcome.
Maranatha — O Lord Come!
EVERYONE IS INVITED AND VISITORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!
Holy Cross is a teaching congregation. We take Bible study seriously and are a congregation of intentional disciples. Where else can you find such constant, and in-depth teaching from the pulpit, over the airwaves, on social media, in print, and by email? Believe me, it is very rare. Holy Cross is very special!
If you want to be fed with spiritual food rather than milk, and want to grow in grace, in your understanding of the Holy Scriptures, in your Faith in God, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah — then Holy Cross is the congregation you have been looking for.
I hope that you will accept my personal invitation to join us on Sunday morning at 9:00 AM for Morning Prayer and a Sermon. Morning Prayer or Shacharit is our morning Service. It has its roots in the synagogue Services of Jesus’ day. It is an ancient and beautiful Service of Psalms, Canticles, two Scripture readings, and prayer. Bring your Bible with you and be ready to learn!
We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you.
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127