Restoring the Family to the Creator’s Design

In the beginning, the Creator designed the perfect plan for the establishment, nurturance, maintenance, and perpetuation of the human race.  The family.  Fathers and mothers raising children together in the same home, and in the worship and discipline of the Lord.  Loving parents providing everything their children need to grow up holistically healthy, safe, educated, skilled, and prepared to eventually raise their own families.  It is a simple plan, really.  Father and mother become parenting partners for life.  Each child completes their education, begins a career, falls in love, gets married, and has children.  Repeat generation after generation. 

Fast forward.  What do we see today?  Unwed birth rates as high as 70%.  The father absence crisis.  Divorce.  Single parent households.  The resulting poverty, child abuse and neglect, academic failure, youth crime, behavioral, emotional and psychological problems, drug abuse.  The list goes on. 

What happened?  The divine order was rejected.  God’s original vision for the family, which was intended by Him for the healthy development of civilization, is viewed by many as antiquated.  The need for a live-in dad has been questioned.  The concept of a God-ordained male family head has been denounced as gender biased.  Men and women have been freed to practice sex outside of marriage. Becoming pregnant out of wedlock has lost its former stigma.  Hence, we are experiencing the breakdown of the family, and the failure of family formation. We are on a path toward the very collapse of society.  Is it too late to turn things around?  Perhaps.  However, as Christians, we have been given a charge to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. 

Jesus proclaimed: 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16

As salt preserves meat, our responsibility is to do everything we can to keep the rotting world alive until Jesus comes again.  As darkness tries to overwhelm mankind, our job is to shine as lights to show people the Father’s love and His righteous ways.  One way we can be salt and light is by the good work of restoring the family to God’s original design, and by giving the Father the glory for all that results.  The logical place to start is in the Church.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a pastor that didn’t acknowledge there needs to be a fatherhood strengthening ministry in his church.  Because we are at crisis stage, I believe we must go beyond fatherhood classes. 

There is needed a multigenerational Christian male development and enrichment initiative.  Young men, grown men and senior men simultaneously learning, teaching, and rediscovering God’s plan.  Each with a Timothy to mentor, and each with a Paul to emulate.  It’s like the threefold cord spoken of by King Solomon (Eccl 4:9-12).  Two strands are good, but a triple-braided cord is stronger.  We need each other… sons, dads, and grandfathers… working together to restore the power of godly maleness for the sake of strengthening families.  By starting with the Church, we are positioned to raise up an army of mature, responsible, scripture informed, Spirit-filled men.  Together, we can serve as witnesses to a world that has lost the vision of the Creator’s design for humanity.      

Urban Light Ministries has begun an innovative initiative to accomplish the above, using my book Father Love – The Powerful Resource Every Child Needs and the companion study guide.  After a conversation with my friend Pastor Sam Bryant in the fall of 2018, Sam and the church leadership agreed to serve as the site for a pilot of a scripture-based enrichment class for their males.  Beginning January 6, 2019, each Sunday for thirteen weeks, the teens, college students and men meet during the Sunday School hour at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Springfield.  With the aid of video clips and a Power Point presentation, I facilitate an hour-long conversation around fatherhood, manhood and spiritual leadership in the home.  Each participant has purchased a book and study guide.  Each week they are given a reading and action steps.  The following week, a discussion is facilitated on the assigned topic.  Attendance has been averaging two dozen.  Active participation is growing each week as the guys become more comfortable.  

Father Love Dad’s Discussion Group Topics Include:

  –  Father Love Defined

  –  Love Is Patient And Kind

  –  Love Is Not Easily Angered

  –  Father Love Is Nurturing

  –  Love Bears All Things

  –  Love Endures All Things And Never Fails

  –  The Creator’s Father Love

Urban Light Ministries has also developed the POPS 101 Online Program.  POPS 101 is a four-session introduction to healthy fathering.  The content is appropriate for use in non-religious settings such as schools, jails, and drug rehab centers.  If you would like to know more about Father Love or POPS 101 please contact me at the address below.

Eli Williams, President

Urban Light Ministries
PO Box 3132
Springfield, OH 45501

Email: EWILLIAMS@URBANLIGHT.ORG

ELI WILLIAMS AWARDED THE NEHEMIAH FOUNDATION’S 2020 LEADERSHIP AWARD

Congratulations to Eli Williams for being awarded the Nehemiah Foundations 2020 Leadership Award.  Pastor Eli Williams has presented the award at the Nehemiah Foundation’s annual Leadership breakfast meeting on November 19, 2020.  The Leadership Award is presented to individuals in the community that has made a positive impact based on the foundation’s principles of Pray, Unify, Equip and Mobilize. 

The Impact God Had On Me as a Father

A father’s heart is built on the foundation of a relationship with the Heavenly Father which makes for a strong family. This video reveals three father’s stories on what the Heavenly Father has meant in their lives and roles as a father to their families.

Mikes Story:

When I was age 10 my dad received Jesus into his heart. It was like a light switch went on in our home. The fighting that was happening daily ceased. My father was reading the Bible. He seemed to take more time with us as kids and got more involved in our lives. We began to go to church and over time that just began to bring about a huge change in our home and in our lives.

Curtis Story:

If I didn’t have a relationship with God then none of this is possible. It’s like you’re giving God the control and not the control of your life but the belief that he’s gonna lead you in the direction you need to go. It’s just so powerful that I’m getting goosebumps talking about it. Being in his will is the best thing that ever had to happen to me. I’m a living example of what God can do for you and that’s more powerful than anything I can say.

Phil’s Story:

One of the biggest things is the fact that I could forgive my own father now. My father left and he scarred me. But now that I have that relationship with God and I know that I’ve been forgiven for all the mistakes I made in the past. The Lord knows I wasn’t perfect. I’ve been able to forgive my own father. My hope now is that I will see him in heaven. I think that he found that same forgiveness and love through Jesus Christ that I did so that I will get to meet him again in heaven. When it comes to my son, Jacob it’s important for me to be that witness to show him. He has seen the change in me, big time actually. I’m proud of that. He’s been able to see that walked I have now. That I’ve changed and that I’m the type of person I want him to be. I just have to continue to be a witness for Jesus Christ and be that example of Jesus Christ to him.

Curtis Story – What Father Love Did for Him

The Impact Father Love made on Curtis as a Dad

Hi, my name is Curtis from New Hope Church. Taking a class presented by Eli Williams.

I was in church and it was suggested by my Pastor to take a class called Father Love. It teaches you about how the way God loves you. I went to the class and immediately the classes had a direct impact. I felt as if Eli was speaking straight to me in a room full of multiple men. I was learning tools about a father’s love and how to love my kids as God loves me.

It taught me how to be more caring and forgiving and more patient. Also less angry. The class benefited my children and me. When I started utilizing the tools and acknowledging the way that God loves me with my own kids I saw a direct impact, an immediate impact in the way I feel and the way my children look at me now.

Craig’s Story – Putting God in His Life

Putting God First In My Life

One of the things I always like to share is that you know I was introduced to Narcotics Anonymous in the 12-step program and that program introduced me to a sponsor. The sponsor introduced me to the 12 steps. And, I always say the 12 steps introduced me to the God of my understanding.

So when I grew up in a Catholic Church the only thing I knew about God was I went to church every Sunday, Wednesday and during holidays. I was a kid that never had a relationship with God. I didn’t know what God meant to me until I worked the steps. I asked God to take care of me and I made a commitment to be a part of what God wanted for me .

One of the things that we talked about is looking what God’s will for me is and having the power to carry that out. I know that without the belief that God is caring for me none of this would be possible. Being there for my kids and and being there for myself and and taking care of myself when I get sick with all these health issues. If I didn’t have a relationship with God then none of it’s possible and it’s like you’re giving God the control. It’s the belief that he’s gonna lead you in the direction you need to go. It’s just so powerful! I’m getting goosebumps talking about it.

Being in his will is the best thing that ever had happened to me. I’m forever grateful for that and I talked to my kids about living in God’s will and God’s grace and what it means to me. I’m just hoping one day that I’ll be asked how did I get that how did I get there. Being available for them. When I was a kid it was like everybody around me would always say these different things about God and Jesus. I never understood it. But I know for me today I’m a living example of what God can do for you and that’s more powerful than anything I can say.

Talking to Your Kids About Drugs

Why it is important to discuss Drugs with your child

A study from the Addiction Research Institute in Ontario, Canada revealed “the earliest risk of the onset of alcohol (ages 10 and 11), is followed closely by the illicit use of prescribed drugs (age 11) and the use of hallucinogens (age 12). Children begin to face high risks for experimentation with marijuana and hashish between 13 and 14 years. Risks for the initiation into crack/cocaine begin at ages 15 and 16.

Start early in laying the groundwork for effective communications about drugs.

Beginning in preschool, take advantage of “teaching moments”. You can help immunize your child against drug abuse by giving them facts about the proper use of medications before they are tempted. For example, as you are giving your child medicine for a cold, explain when and how much medicine should be taken. Read up on the drug or antibiotic so you have the facts and can explain the danger of misuse.

When watching a TV show or movie and a character lights-up a cigarette, it is a good time to talk about what nicotine addiction does to the body. This can lead to other conversations about drug abuse. Just be sure to keep the discussions relaxed. Because of these conversations, as your child grows older, they will likely be comfortable coming to you with their questions about drugs.

As they reach 8 to 12 years of age, begin asking them what they think about drugs in ways that are open-ended and nonjudgmental. Between the ages of 13 to 17, your child probably knows kids who use drugs. Listen carefully to their questions, thoughts and feelings. Because their teen friends may driving, talk about the dangers and illegalities of driving under the influence. Promise to be available to pick them up when they need safe transportation on a moment’s notice.

Tips About Talking to Your Kids

It is best to prioritize conversations with your children on subjects they show interest in. This way they are more likely to retain what they learn. It is also a good way to know they are ready to discuss it.

They may not be old enough or mature enough for certain topics such as drugs and sex, for example. To discover their level of interest in a subject and the appropriateness of having the conversation at this time, ask them a question about it, and listen to their response.

Pick a topic that is in the news, or when it comes up in a TV show or movie, for example. Proceed only as far with the discussion as their interest indicates. Keeping the lines of communication open with your children throughout their lifetime will ensure that when their interest grows, they will feel comfortable asking you for more information. Reassure them they can come to you at any time with anything that is on their mind.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and methods put forward are the opinions of the individual authors, and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., its staff or individual members of the board of
trustees.

Read these Bible Verses to help your child understand

Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Proverbs 23:31-33 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;
32 at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Here are additional resources that will be beneficial for further discussion

Drug Prevention Tips for Every Age

Why You Should Talk With Your Child About Alcohol and Other Drugs

The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts Guide for Talking to Your Kids about Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Preventing Drug Use: Connecting and Talking with Your Teen

Talking to Your Kids About Racism

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS

According to an article in Parents.com, research shows that children start assigning meaning to skin color at 18
months and can distinguish different races by age 3. Make sure they are ready for the subject when it comes up at
school, or with their young friends.

START WITH AN AGE-APPROPRIATE QUESTION

Have you noticed that flowers and birds have variety?
What is different about them? What is the same?
What is your favorite flower color?
What is your favorite bird color?

BUILD ON THE SCRIPTURE

Read together Genesis 1:20-29
Did God make all of the flowers and birds?
So, do you think God enjoys the variety he has made?
Have you noticed the variety in people?

Read together John 3:16-17; 1 John 4:10-11; Acts 10:34-35
Does God love all people?

Read together Revelation 7:9-10
Will there be a variety of people in heaven?

How will you respond when someone says untrue things about people who are different?

Tips to Talking to Your Kids

It is best to prioritize conversations with your children on subjects they show interest in. This way they are more likely to retain what they learn. It is also a good way to know they are ready to discuss it.

They may not be old enough or mature enough for certain topics such as drugs and sex, for example. To discover their level of interest in a subject and the appropriateness of having the conversation at this time, ask them a question about it, and listen to their response.

Pick a topic that is in the news, or when it comes up in a TV show or movie, for example. Proceed only as far with the discussion as their interest indicates. Keeping the lines of communication open with your children throughout their lifetime will ensure that when their interest grows, they will feel comfortable asking you for more information. Reassure them they can come to you at any time with anything that is on their mind.

Disclaimer: The suggestions and methods put forward are the opinions of the individual authors, and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., its staff or individual members of the board of
trustees.

OTHER SUGGESTED RESOURCES

“”Anti-Racism for Kids: An Age-by-Age Guide to Fighting Hate,” Parents.com, by Katie
Arnold-Ratliff

“How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism,”Parenttoolkit.com, Julie Lythcott-Haims, et. al.

“How to Talk About Race with Your Kids,” Christianitytoday.com, Michelle Reyes.

God is Good – A Recap of 2020

On behalf of everyone at Urban Light Ministries, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year.  As each of us has felt in our own personal way, this year has made an impact on how we now view the world.  I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your generous prayers and donations over the last 12 months.  As the Board Chair of Urban Light Ministries, I wanted to share with you the many things this organization, and more specifically, Eli Williams has done for the community.

Over the last 12 months as we battled the day-to-day issues of COVID-19, racism, and family strife we felt it necessary to do our part in helping build stronger bonds in the family and in the community.  And, I am proud to say that with the leadership of Eli Williams much was accomplished.  Some examples of the work this year include:

  • The release of the POPS 101 online classes to reach fathers who needed to improve their skills – this program is now offered in both English and Spanish
  • The development and implementation of a Video Series for families entitled “Fathering During a Pandemic.” With families being quarantined at home we felt it was important to provide Godly skills in fathering and family unity.  The seven series included:
    1. Why Dads Matter
    2. Being Successful Socially Starts in the Home
    3. Creating Order in the Midst of Chaos
    4. Father as a protector
    5. Father as an Order Keeper and Provider
    6. Raising Teenagers
    7. Father as the Stabilizer
  • We continued to recognize outstanding fathers in the community. More fathers then ever in the past received the Fatherhood Community Award. Twenty-seven outstanding dads were recognized for their leadership within their families and community.
  • Fatherhood Devotional was created and printed and provided to each of the fathers who were awarded the Fatherhood Community Award. The devotional was also made available to any family that is interested, free of charge.
  • Eli’s personal leadership and conviction continued through working with local churches towards building Biblically healthy multiethnic relationships through his work with Celebrate Simunye and cohosting the 4 part video series on “Defining This Moment.”
  • With the dramatic increase in the homeless population due to the pandemic, Eli saw the need to mobilize the faith-based community to address this problem and is leading a taskforce and working with the Interfaith Hospitality Network.

For all of Eli William’s work and dedication in the community, he was awarded the 2020 Nehemiah Foundation Leadership Award.

As you can see your prayers and donations are making an impact.  As the year ends please continue to pray for Urban Light Ministries, Eli Williams, the struggles that many families are now going through and those seeking shelter for the night. 

As like many nonprofits this year we were not able to host an annual fundraiser and therefore have raised only 58% compared to what was collected last year.  Please consider a year-end gift so the work of Urban Light Ministries and Eli Williams can continue touching those in the Springfield community. 

With sincere gratitude,


Bruce Stapleton

Fathering in a Pandemic – Why Dads Matter

The Bible is the greatest instructional guide for fathers. It clearly outlines why dads matter and how a father is to treat, instruct, guide, nurture and provide for his children. Throughout the Bible, you will find verse after verse that will equip fathers to become the father that God intended them to be.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important attributes that a Godly father must possess.

Compassion

Compassion means showing concern for others, understanding their pain, “and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain.”
Why do you think a father should be able to show compassion? Share a time in which you showed compassion. Talk with your
children about showing compassion and decide how best you and your children can show compassion this week to someone
in need.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;”

(Psalm 103:13)

Discipline

Discipline is hard, and yet it is absolutely necessary for a child to grow and mature into a responsible adult. As adults, we
find that sometimes God will discipline us. Share with your child how you have seen God at work disciplining your life. There
are times in which we stray from being present with God. When that happens, He will guide us back to Him. In the same way,
a father must gently guide his child through correction and discipline. Discipline can be done in a quiet, respectful way. Be
sure to make eye contact with your child and let them know that their behavior/action is unacceptable but you still love them.
Love is the key to successful discipline. Dads matter when it comes to discipline.

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves…”

(Proverbs 3: 11-12)

Listening

It’s been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a good reason. We need to listen twice as much as we talk. This
verse highlights that a father’s instructions are worth paying attention to and understanding. When you give your child an
instruction, ask your child to repeat what you just said to be sure they understand.

“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.”

(Proverbs 4:1)

Nurture

The word “exasperate” means to irritate or frustrate intensely. This verse clearly says that Fathers do not anger or annoy
your children, instead train them in the way of the Lord, showing kindness, gentleness, self-control, patience. Not always
easy after a long day, but keeping your temper at bay, will show that you are trying to represent Godly instruction in true
righteousness and holiness. The next time you find yourself about to lose your patience, take a moment to pray for patience
and remember that your son or daughter is a “Child of God” and you are given the amazing responsibility to train them in the
ways of the Lord.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

(Ephesians 6:4)

Provide

The goal of every father is to provide for his family, therefore if a child asks for food, you wouldn’t give him something
harmful, instead, you would provide something that would provide nourishment. Providing for a child can come in a variety
of ways. Providing for the health and well-being of a child is the primary way in which a father can show his love and support
to his child. Providing doesn’t always mean financially but can also mean mentally and spiritually. List a few ways you are
providing for your child that doesn’t cost anything. Some examples might be, spending time together, talking, walking, riding
bikes, teaching a new skill. These are all valuable ways that show you are a provider.


Fathers are “indispensable” in the lives of their children. A father’s love, support, encouragement, and quiet strength are so
important to the natural growth and spiritual development of any child. Never doubt that a father’s guiding hand and Godly
instructions can have a lasting impact upon their child. May God bless you each day because DADS MATTER in the life of their
child(ren).

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?”

(Luke 11:11)

For an additional resource, click here for 10 Things Scripture Says about Being a Father from “All Pro Dads.”

A Successful Dad Starts at Home

From the moment you are born, you are learning social skills, a smile, a soft voice, a touch. These all contribute to your sense of being socially engaged with your surroundings. The Bible is our training manual for learning to become a successful dad with more intense social skills. For instance, the most important aspect of being social is being able to communicate effectively. Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” This is a great memory verse to start out your day. Asking God to guard your mouth against saying things that are unkind and protecting your heart from selfish desires.

Another great resource from the Bible is the book of Proverbs. “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:23) “A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.” (Proverbs 11:17) Verse after verse describes the righteous man being rewarded by God and the wicked man being trapped by evil. Where do you find yourself today? Trapped or blessed, you have the power to choose.

Here are a few ways in which you can help you become a successful dad and guide your children as they learn to become social with others.

  • The art of being patient. This is a tough one to teach, but through playing board games, cards or other activities in which one must wait their turn is a valuable lesson in life. (“A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” Proverbs 15:18)
  • The art of listening and following directions is absolutely necessary to succeed in life. James 1:19-20 gives us a clear understanding of how we should live. Take note of this: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Children need to learn that there is a time to be quiet and listen and a time to follow directions without quarreling or arguing.
  • The art of organization is a skill that is totally necessary to manage life. We need routine, structure, consistency in order for things to move along smoothly in the home. Children need to see that fathers can help set up clear expectations when there are organizational skills implemented in the home. Deuteronomy 6:7-9 tells us that we are to impress the 10 Commandments on your children, …”talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road…”
  • The art of friendship is so crucial to the healthy well-being of your child. During this time of social distancing and social isolation, a child can feel frustrated that they can’t play or visit with a friend. Let them know that they will be able to see their friends up close again, but until then be creative on how to continue building upon their friendships. For instance, Facetime, or Zoom calls can be helpful so that children can actually see their friends. Have your child write a note or draw a picture for a friend and either mail it or drop it off at their friend’s home.

Becoming a successful dad means being a blessing to your children by setting the example that even though we are living in a time where uncertainty is real, our hope is in our Heavenly Father who gives us hope each day. We can share our disappointments with one another, but at the end of the day, we choose faith over fear. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” Love one another, because love comes from God!

Biblical References on Becoming a Successful Dad

Communicate Effectively

“May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.”
(Proverbs 16:23)

“A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.” (Proverbs 11:17)

Setting the Right Example

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18)