Remembering God’s Promises

This is a picture of a rainbow over the Sea of Galilee one day while Judy and I were there. In fact, moments later, it became

a double rainbow! All the passengers on our tour bus were thrilled that God blessed us to be in that place at that time to see it. The rainbow is a reminder of God’s promise to never again wipe out life on earth by a flood. At that moment in time during my sabbatical, Yahweh used a rainbow to remind me of His promise to provide all I need to serve Him. A double meaning!

Jesus promised:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

– Matthew 6:33 NKJV

Although I went to the Holy Land as part of my leave expecting a time of rest, the Father knew I also needed affirmation. So, He provided some amazing, once in a lifetime opportunities for me to minister to the 45 people in our bus group.

That included leading the group through Bible reading and commentary, leading songs and in prayers at some of the most special cites in Is- rael. The Upper Room, Jesus’s holding place in the dungeon of Caiaphas’s’ house, The Garden of Gethsemane, and other places Jesus walked. To top it off, I was given the privilege of baptiz- ing 18 people in the Jordan River. All of this was totally unexpected and unplanned on my part. God had prepared me, and He made the way. In doing so, He assured me that He is with me, is for me, and has more for me to do.

That I should rest in confidence in His purposes and His care for me. Whew!

Along the way while serving Him, He has also met every material need, just as He promised! As we have come off the sabbatical leave, we find ourselves in a very tight spot – both Urban Light Ministries and the Wil- liams family, but I am confident Jehovah Jireh will come through as He always does. With no government grants, we are 100% dependent on Him. Please allow Him to use you to help sustain this ministry during this critical time.

The Word promises: And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:19 NKJV Thank you for being part of fulfilling His promise.

For His Glory,

Eli Williams, Ministry President/CEO

Eight Ways Good Dads are Great for Kids and Communities

When dads are present and actively engaged in raising their kids, their children, on average…

  1. Have better, healthier relationships
    • Make wiser decisions about relationships
    • Less inclined to have sexual relations too young
    • Seven times less likely to get pregnant as a teenager
    • Therefore, reduce the number of births, abortions and STDs among teens
  2. Have better emotional health and control
    • More likely to be non-aggressive toward others
    • Four time less likely to be prone to anxiety or depression
    • Less likely to have behavioral and emotional difficulties
    • Therefore, contribute to a more peaceful and safer schools and community
  3. Have better physical health
    • Twice as likely to be physically fit
    • Probably more likely to be breastfed
    • Two times less likely to be a victim of sudden infant death syndrome
    • Therefore, contribute to a healthier community, reducing health care costs
  4. Are less likely to become addicted to substances
    • Less inclined to use and abuse alcohol
    • Less prone to use and abuse drugs
    • Less likely to become depressed, which sometimes leads to addictive behavior
    • Therefore, reducing the community’s costs for treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation
  5. Are more likely to feel safe and more confident
    • Ten times less likely to suffer physical or emotional abuse
    • Six times less probable that they will suffer neglect
    • Therefore, increasing children’s sense of wellbeing, and their chances of success in life
  6. Have better odds of academic success
    • More likely to get top grades
    • Two time less likely to repeat a grace
    • Two times less like to drop out of high school
    • Less likely to be suspended or expelled
    • Therefore, their individual as well as the overall school performance improves
  7. More likely to stay out of trouble
    • Less like to engage in risky behavior
    • Less prone to commit a crime
    • Less likely to prison
    • Therefore, will not have a criminal record, which can make it difficult to get a good job.
  8. Therefore, reduces the costs of policing, criminal justice and the incarceration
    • Less likely to be poor
    • Four times less likely to live in poverty at some time in their youth
    • Two times less likely to experience poverty as adults
    • Therefore, reducing the community’s charitable and government costs of providing goods and services for the poor

If you are engaged in the raising of your children, we salute you!

If you are a mom, we encourage you to support the involvement of dad in co-parenting.  Acknowledge and celebrate his role in your child’s life by nominating him for a Good Dad Award.

Learn about our resources for dads at www.urbanlight.org

For information on the impact of father absence visit: https://www.fatherhood.gov/ | https://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistic

Dad As Order Keepers

It is a not-often-enough-acknowledged fact that fathers play an important role in the healthy development of their children.  When fathers are present and engaged in the educational process, their children do better in school.  Not only that.  Mature, responsible males play an indispensable part in making home, neighborhood, and school safe places for children.

To illustrate this truth, in the Urban Light Ministries POPS 101 program we share the true story about male elephants.  According to a 2000 CBS News report, aggressive young orphaned elephants are reported to have killed 36 rhinos, including rare black ones, in a game park in eastern South Africa. According to conservationists, the young elephants had been provoking confrontations with the rhinos since introduced to Hluhluwe-Umofolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal.

The elephants were orphaned when their parents were culled in the early 1990s in an effort to control the elephant population in Kruger National Park. As they matured, became more aggressive. Attacks on rhinos have been growing over the past two years, with 13 killed, including two black rhino, in the last five months of 1999, South African newspapers report. A park ranger said he had witnessed an elephant knocking a rhino over, trampling it and driving a tusk through its chest. Conservation vet Dave Cooper said: “There was a spate of killings, and it was as if they were purposeful. The rhinos were ripped to pieces.”

He said that elephant and rhino routinely clash in nature “but this sort of behavior, when elephant actively go out and chase rhino, is totally abnormal”.  Fellow conservationist Tony Conway said similarly aggressive behavior had also been seen in Pilanesberg National Park in Northwest Province – another home for the Kruger Park orphaned elephants.

How did they stop the killing in Pilanesberg? The killings at Pilanesberg stopped when six adult elephant bulls were introduced to the park. The young ones’ behavior patterns returned to normal under their influence. – BBC

Why would the young elephants kill rhinos? Well, like human juvenile delinquents, they had grown up without role models.  “I think everyone needs a role model, and these elephants that left the herd had no role model and no idea of what appropriate elephant behavior was,” said Gus Van Dyk, Pilanesberg Park’s field ecologist. – CBS News

Mature, responsible males bring order. A recent CBS Television On The Road segment Dads on Duty highlighted a group of fathers whose presence in a troubled school brought a crisis of rampant student violence under control. Watch it here: https://www.revolt.tv/2021/10/23/22742377/dads-on-duty-bring-safety-tough-love-and-dad-jokes-to-a-louisiana-high-school.  Another, more established program of dads in schools is Watch Dogs. Click here to learn about it: https://www.facebook.com/DadsOfGreatStudents/videos/?ref=page_internal

Dads can learn more about how can be their best as protectors, order keepers, providers and stabilizers, enroll in the free POPS 101 Online course here: https://urbanlight.org/online-courses/

For more information about resources offered by Urban Light Ministries, visit our website at www.urbanlight.org.

Dads Discussion Group Off to Strong Start

Steady attendance. Empowering curriculum. Enlightening conversation. Urban Light Ministries’ Dads Discussion Group is off to a strong start.

A group of seven men have been meeting weekly this fall at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at COHatch The Marketplace in Springfield. The weekly topic? The fine art of fatherhood. The group is still open to new joiners, call ULM at (937) 408-1050 to register or for more information. ULM supporters can help by referring fathers in their social circles to the group.

Facilitating the free one-hour discussion groups are Urban Light President and CEO Eli Williams, a long-time local advocate for children and fathers, and James Cooper, a former South High School basketball standout and Wooster College All-American. “I want to provide an opportunity for dads to come together to bond and talk over issues they may be facing,” said Williams. “The majority of the phone calls I get are from fathers and people who love them who have children in an estranged situation and are facing barriers to having access to their child. It is very heartbreaking that a father can’t see his children.”

Cooper knows what it is like to be one of those fathers and knows the challenges of fatherlessness. “Being a father is everything for me, especially me growing up without a father,” Cooper said. “I know what it is like first-hand. I don’t want my kids to feel like I felt growing up. I work with so many young men who don’t have a father. You feel frustrated, angry and lost. But you can overcome it, making the best of the hand that you were dealt,” he continued. “Instead of playing victim and being angry, try to learn from your own mistakes. Enjoy life the best you can. The ‘poor me mentality’ leads to disruption, which can lead to prison, drugs, sometimes even death.”

Participants are gaining a lot from the discussions, which cover a variety of topics, including managing co-parenting when the romantic love is gone, making the most out of parenting time, healing from a hurtful past, achieving and maintaining holistic health, loving your children the way the Father does, and being your children’s POPS (Protector, Order-keeper, Provider and Stabilizer).

“There’s two words that come to mind: insight and comradery,” said Ben Peshek, who last month became a step-father after marrying the love of his life, Ashley. “Understanding different points of views has been important for me. It’s wonderful having the different perspectives of the ages that are part of this group. The different experiences that each man in this group gives from different backgrounds and different perspectives have been so helpful,” he continued. “It is interesting to see that some things are not really that different when you are dealing with a child. You can see it in the guys’ faces. You see a lot of love, and it ends up being a lot of love of the Father because we are all believers.”

Bruce Lemley, who has two grown children, says the discussion group provides much more than just an education on childhood. “There’s also some inner healing,” he said. “I thought I was done (healing), but I wasn’t. I’d call it father healing, from the father wound. I was surprised. So it is healing from a deeper level. Jesus is still in the healing process. He is forever in the healing process, and He waits until we are ready.”

That healing has been the goal of Urban Light’s fatherhood ministry for the last several years, using resources like Williams’ book, “Father Love.”

“I’ve found it is helpful that fathers know there are dads who have been in that situation and have learned from it,” he said. “There are things that can be shared that can help fathers through these tough times. Sometimes it is difficult overcoming past mistakes. For men struggling financially, taking care of himself and his kids through child support, life can really be tough for a guy who really wants to do the right thing, but doesn’t have the resources to do it.

“Providing an intimate setting where men can feel confident, they can actually open up and have other men in the room affirm and encourage them, even become a mentor,” Williams added. “Good outcomes can happen when you get men together in a safe place. It’s uplifting, it’s a rare opportunity; I’ve learned a lot from other men through this and have been able to share it.”

Bible Truths for Dads and Their Children

Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions,…”

Fathers need the opportunity to search their own heart and soul to see if the instructions they are providing to their son(s) and or daughter(s) are in accordance with the will of God.  May God guide you and give you wisdom as you strive to be the best dad you can be for your family.  

 The role of the dad is one of the most powerful influences on a child’s life.  As a dad, you have the amazing opportunity to “teach, encourage, instruct, mentor, praise, influence, guide and inspire” the next generation. 

 A 31 Day Father Devotional was written that highlights 23 different values that dads need teach their children. Biblical references have been provided with questions for reflection each day.

Father Devotional Ebook

The values identified in the 31 Day Father Devotional include:

  1. Perseverance
  2. Patience
  3. Humility
  4. Fairness
  5. Peacefulness
  6. Concern
  7. Joyfulness
  8. Contentment
  9. Gentleness
  10. Obedience
  11. Confidence
  12. Respectfulness
  13. Love
  14. Commitment
  15. Honesty
  16. Self-discipline
  17. Goodness
  18. Friendliness
  19. Stewardship
  20. Unselfishness
  21. Courage
  22. Praise
  23. Salvation

Your legacy as a father will be forever remembered by your children, and their children, etc. What do you want your legacy to be….? Start today making changes if needed, walk in the truth of the Lord your God, remembering that He is always with you, you are never alone. There isn’t anything you can’t share with Him, let him speak to your heart today. God bless you and your family.

Peace be with you!

New Father Love Discussion Group

A NEW DADS DISCUSSION GROUP IS FORMING NOW

When: Weekly on Tuesdays | 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM | August 3 through October 26, 2021

Where: COhatch Heritage Room, Downtown Springfield

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Facilitated conversation on fatherhood using the Bible-based book Father Love – The Powerful Resource Every Child Needs by Eli Williams.  Each participant receives a copy of the book and Study Guide.  Thesessions lead dads through a deeper dive into male-style parenting and helps men build bonds with other fathers for fellowship and peer mentoring.

SUMMARY

  • Thirteen (13) one-hour sessions
  • Interactive Power Point® Presentations
  • Stimulating and encouraging conversations
  • Challenging Action Steps toward growing from good to great

SOME OF THE TOPICS COVERED

  • FATHER LOVE DEFINED
  • LOVE IS PATIENT AND KIND
  • LOVE IS NOT EASILY ANGERED
  • FATHER LOVE IS NURTURING
  • LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS
  • THE CREATOR’S FATHER LOVE
  • Others

Materials

  • Book
  • Study Guide

About the Author and Discussion Facilitator

Eli Williams is a husband, father, grandfather and ordained minister. He is president and co-founder of Urban Light Ministries (www.urbanlight.org) which provides a weekly after school program serving nearly 800 children annually.  ULM operates a fatherhood program that since 2006 has annually impacted over 500 dads and their kids. Learn more at www.pastoreli.com.

Registration ends July 27, 2021

UNDERWRITTEN BY TURNER FOUNDATION AND GRACE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH