January/February Focus from the Founder

Dear Readers:

It’s hard to believe that this issue of KALEIDOSCOPE marks the beginning of our second year of publication. This bi-monthly email newsletter holds a special place in our growing ministry, as it gives voice to the many exciting outreach efforts being conducted at The Bethany Center.

In reflecting on the beginning of this new year, I couldn’t help but think about the beginning of creation and all that has followed—the past, present and prophetic. The Kingdom of God is this month’s Precious Gems article, and I hope the words that God placed on my heart and in my spirit, speak as strongly to you. This month, our Ask Victoria question addresses the inclusion of streaming our teachings live. Our Hebrew word is Acharit Ha Yamim and I think you will find Dr. Bron Barkley’s newest Word Up message inspiring. Read about our upcoming Classes & Events, including our 2018 Israel Study Tour scheduled for May. And make sure to check out our SPOTLIGHT section where our Featured Recipe, Featured Book and Featured Ministry are highlighted.

A new year brings with it new promises…and our ministry promise to you has been to provide quality programs to educate, train, equip and empower the followers of Yeshua. To that end, I’m excited to announce the addition of two new exciting columns to our KALEIDOSCOPE publication. The Colors of Sound by Messianic recording artist Jonathan Settel, and Bridges and Boundaries by bestselling author Allison Bottke. These incredibly talented individuals bring not only decades of experience in their creative fields to our ministry, but equally powerful testimonies in how they came to know Yeshua. We pray their unique contributions will touch the hearts of our readers.

Music holds a special place in my heart—and I know in the hearts of many of you as well. Whether we were raised with timeless hymns like A Mighty Fortress is Our God, or with contemporary praise music like Hillsong’s Shout to the Lord, there is no denying that the eyes of the heart are often opened through the music that touches our soul.

Worship music plays a very sacred—and very special role in the Jewish culture. A Jewish prayer leader, also known as a cantor, hazzan or chazan, isn’t just a singer–the hazzan is the central conductor in praise and worship. A term commonly used to denote someone who has completed professional musical training and been ordained as a cantor, the word is also applied in a general way to someone who leads services through song and story—someone like Jonathan Settel.

Born in Berlin, Germany and raised in a traditional Jewish family in Washington, D.C., Jonathan studied music at IAU. For twenty years he was a vocalist in nightclubs, hotels, bars and cruise ships in the United States. In February of 1984, while employed by Walt Disney World in Florida, Jonathan had what he calls “an encounter with eternity” when he became a believer in Yeshua Ha Mashiach, (Jesus, the Messiah.) In 1990, Jonathan responded to the Lord’s call to make “Aliyah” (returning to his homeland, Israel), and moved his family to Jerusalem where he came to love and identify completely with the Israeli culture. It was there Settel International Ministries was birthed and flourished. His travels have taken him to many countries as well as to a variety of Christian and Messianic Congregations. In 1997, he and his family returned to the United States where they lived in Florida until their recent move to Texas.

A man after the heart of God, Jonathan’s calling is to bring the believer’s attention back to the time of Yeshua through ancient expressions of worship and teachings. Through his music, both Gentiles and Jews can touch the heart of God and feel the arms of Messiah Yeshua surround them. I agree with Jonathan when he says, “This act of worship brings us together and the special love of Messiah is the glue that holds us together.”

Through Settel International Ministries, Jonathan has released what is known as Messianic praise and worship music on CD and DVD, and we are pleased to make these works, along with his newest releases available here. Jonathan’s skills as an anointed vocalist and gifted narrator are certain to enhance both our worship experience and audio programs, and we warmly welcome him and his wife, Sharon, to our growing outreach ministry team. Make sure to read From Florida to Texas and Why in his new Colors of Sound column premiering in this issue. You can read more about Jonathan Settel and the exciting projects currently in development, on his web site at: http://www.settel.org

Many of you may recognize the name of our second new columnist as she has been on the forefront of the Christian publishing industry for many years. Allison Bottke is a bestselling inspirational author and speaker, and was instrumental as the developmental editor on my memoir, Just a Little Girl.

Her international outreach includes over 30 trade published non-fiction and fiction books, including the acclaimed God Allows U-Turns compilation book series, the God Answers Prayers series, and the bestselling, award-winning Setting Boundaries series from Harvest House Publishers. Book one in that series, Setting Boundaries with your Adult Children-Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents, has sold over 250,000 copies and has hit #1 in the Amazon.com “Parenting” category several times. After eight years, that book is still being heralded as a landmark resource for parents and grandparents in pain. Setting Boundaries with Difficult People was nominated for an AWSA Book of the Year Award, and Setting Boundaries with Food won the prestigious Selah Award for Best Book of the year in 2013. Her 30th book, Setting Boundaries with Negative Thoughts and Painful Memories – How to Stop Hoarding Your Hurts, released last year and a follow-up to the first book in the series is in development as we speak—with a release date of Spring 2019.

There are over a half-million copies of her books in print.

Allison is a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs, including Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, Family Talk, Day Star, the Dr. Laura Show, TBN, and others. She is a frequent guest on Good Morning Texas. Allison also has a passion to help writers achieve their dreams, and she has served on the faculty at many national writing conferences, such as Jerry B. Jenkins Writing for the Soul, Blue Ridge Christian Writers, Roaring Lambs, and Seattle Pacific. She has edited, ghostwritten and collaborated on 10+ books in addition to her own work.

Born and raised in Cleveland, OH, Allison came of age during the 70’s, when at the age of 15 she ran away from home and married a young man whose abuse nearly ended her life. Divorced and a mother at the age of 16, her tenacious spirit saw her through three decades of turmoil and addiction before she came to know the Lord in her mid-30s. Her powerful testimony has been featured in national magazines and on radio and television programs around the world.

In 2014, Allison was honored with the annual Author of Influence Award at the Roaring Lamb Christian Writers Conference for her body of work and ongoing desire to assist men and women around the world in their efforts to achieve success in the field. It was shortly thereafter we met.

Writing a memoir is hard work, and throughout the year-long process I grew to depend on Allison’s keen ability to organize and structure my words and thoughts in unique and creative ways. It was during our work on Just a Little Girl that Allison began to earnestly explore the Hebrew roots of her Christian faith. When we launched The Bethany Center, we were blessed to have her fresh perspective on communicating our ministry outreach goals to a growing audience as Allison worked tirelessly in the background as our in-house writer, editor, and development director—all the while juggling her own book deadlines and releases.

Over the past several years, we’ve had more than a few discussions on the value of setting healthy boundaries in all our relationships, and even with things like denominational dogma. If you’ve read any of the books in her Setting Boundaries series, you know how heavily Allison leans on Scripture to walk her readers through sometimes painful journeys. She describes herself as the most boundary-challenged individual she knows, and it’s often through her transparent vulnerability that the Lord uses her to communicate truth to readers. I’m excited to feature her work in KALEIDOSCOPE, so make sure to read “Spirit of Connection” in her new Bridges and Boundaries column premiering in this issue. And you can read more about Allison Bottke and the exciting projects currently in development, on her web site at: AllisonBottke.com or on her Facebook Author Page at Facebook.com/AuthorAllisonBottke 

Now, there’s one more exciting thing to share …

After four decades of marriage to my high-school sweetheart, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and a successful business that has enabled us to share our blessings—and our faith—with others, Paul and I fervently pray to follow the call God has placed on our hearts. Together, we’ve been able to launch and nurture several ministries over the years, spirit-filled outreaches that through God’s grace have touched the lives of people around the world.

Later this year we will be launching another new outreach—quite possibly one of our most ambitious endeavors yet.

We have created First Century Genesis to bring the time of Jesus to light. Our mission is to illuminate the authentic traditions, the culture of the land and the people of Israel. We desire to bring a clearer understanding of the Hebrew language, its colorful idioms, and the actual words of Yeshua to those who seek to know the Messiah in His true context. The church has experienced many changes over the years from the purposeful elimination of Jewish heritage in the third century, to falling into the dark-ages, which led to restructuring through the reformation—a time that created many denominations. We believe God is calling believers to return to the original genesis of the first century, to the faith of Yeshua—a time when these lines were non-existent.

We hope you will join us on this journey of discovery. We will be releasing more information about First Century Genesis in future issues of KALEIDOSCOPE, as well as in our weekly FAITH INFUSION email updates.

Until we meet again in March, my prayer for you, dear readers, is that you keep advancing His Kingdom through growing in His Word and reaching out to the hurting world that needs His blessing in their lives. You are His Messengers!

Keep and guard the Faith…for it is Life,


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