By Dr. Scott Lively
Many of us can still remember the days when you could send your kids
out to play in the neighborhood without worry, and nobody even locked
their doors at night. Business could often be done with a handshake,
and if you lost your wallet there was a good chance it would be
returned to you, with the money still in it. To children growing up
today, these stories may seem like myths, but those times were real.
So why are things so bad now? What is it that we had in those past
generations that we don't have today? Simple: Christian values.
Most of our great-grandparents and their parents before them believed
in the Bible, and they did their best to live according to its wisdom.
They knew that "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" and He
did bless them with prosperity and security. A family could live on
one income then, and Moms got to stay home with their children and
raise them to be good citizens and good future husbands and wives.
There was money enough for the important things, and usually enough to
help a neighbor in need as well. Hardly anyone needed hand-outs from
the government to survive.
Sure, there were social problems in those days, just like there are
in every generation since the beginning of time. But many people were
working to improve those things because they believed in a God that
makes things better when you pray to Him and obey His teachings.
Racism, for example, was still a terrible sin of the people, but some
Christian voices were constantly reminding society that God made us
all equal. They followed the only religion in the world that preaches
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for
we are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
The past wasn't perfect, but a great many of the most important
aspects of daily life were better then, because the people prayed to
Jesus and tried to follow His commandments.
The good news is that Jesus is still there. He never left, even when
we stopped honoring Him. And His promise to bless the nation (or
city) that worships Him is still true.
The Redemption Project
The mission of Jesus when He came to earth more than 2,000 years ago
was to redeem mankind. To redeem means to "buy back" or to "pay the
ransom." Jesus spent the most valuable substance in the universe, His
own blood, to redeem us by giving up His life on the cross to pay for
our sins. All those who accept His sacrifice as payment for their
sins become His "heirs" with the right to receive His blessings
during their life on earth and to go to heaven when they die. This
is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: "that God so loved the world that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not
perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
To follow Jesus means to live "redemptively." It means to use the
resources that we have to make things better in our own lives and in
the lives of those around us. The Redemption Project is simply a
program for helping Christians to organize themselves to use their
resources more efficiently.
We are Christians from many denominations and every race and color
who want to bring back God's blessing by making Jesus the Lord of
Springfield again. We have chosen a portion of inner-city Springfield
that we have called the Redemption Zone. It is about 10 square miles
of territory where we are now concentrating our energy and efforts to
show that true Bible-based Christian values can solve the problems
that are now killing our childrens' future.
Our focus is on four areas:
1) Evangelism. We are teaching about Jesus and the Bible by going
out into the streets to pass out tracts, and talking and praying with
the people we meet. Some people go door-to-door. Others go to public
meeting places. Others just walk along the streets. Our goal is to
promote a genuine Christian lifestyle in the people who live in the
Zone by addressing the practical issues that they are dealing with
every day: personal behavior and character, relationships, health,
career and so on. We are leading people to the knowledge of the
Savior and steering them into Bible-believing churches in their
2) Family life. We are encouraging people to follow the Bible about
sex, marriage and family. To save sex for marriage, to stay faithful
in marriage, and to always work to be a better husband or wife and Dad
and Mom. We will actively promote Biblical marriage and family
through every available means, and work to prevent divorce, reconcile
marriages and promote healthy parent/child relationships.
3) Commerce. We are talking and planning about starting
Christian-owned and operated businesses in the RZ to raise the
standard of living of the local people and to generate income for
further ministry and community development. The goal is to help
people become stake-holders in their own neighborhoods and to break
free from dependency.
4) Government. We will partner with government and local non-profit
organizations in every possible way to achieve greater social justice
and efficient utilization of public resources in the RZ, consistent
with Christian values.
This article is an invitation to all Bible-believing Christians to
join the Redemption Project. There are no dues or formal membership.
We are simply calling on all churches and believers in the region
around Springfield to adopt the Redemption Zone as their own local
mission field. If you would like to participate in this project
please contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our regular
activities at this time include a Christian activist discussion group
that meets every Sunday afternoon from 3-5PM at New Generation Church
(605 Liberty St., behind the Save-a-Lot supermarket) and a Tuesday
evening outreach from 6:30-8:00PM. We have frequent special
activities as well. Our first community event is Family Day at Blunt
Park (see flyer in this publication). Meanwhile, please continue with
us in prayer for the transformation of the Redemption Zone.
Redemption Project Blog