Summary: Green Eggs and Ham was the starting place for this message on Evangelism and the churches need to be flexible in methods for reaching people.
(Read from Green Eggs and Ham pages 1-16)
Do you know the story? I bet you do. It's one of Dr. Seuss greatest works. “Green Eggs and Ham”. You know I hate that book. Didn't always hate it though, no sir when I was a kid I loved Green Eggs and Ham, and when Stephen was born I promised myself that I'd buy that classic for my children, and I did. And my kids love it and I have read it to them let's see, at last count, 3,123,789 times approximately. And I have come to hate that book.
“Green Eggs and Ham” was published in August 13, 1960, exactly 2 months after I was born. Written by Theodor Geisel, who we all know as Dr. Seuss. Actually we pronounce it wrong, what we refer to as Seuss, was his middle name and it’s German. A friend of Seuss’s Alexander Liang wrote: You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.
But finally Seuss gave up went with the flow and he started pronouncing it the way everybody else did and Dr. Seuss was born.
The book came about when Geisel’s editor wagered him that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. And he did and it has gone on to become the third bestselling children’s book of all time.
You know the story. Sam keeps trying to get his friend to try green eggs and ham. Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox? And at every rejection he tries something new. And his friend keeps saying, no, no, no I don't like them, until finally it would seem that Sam has tried everything because his friend says: (Read from Green Eggs and Ham pages 46-50)
My eyes were opened almost 20 years ago when we went on vacation to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Deborah was allowed to take some books for bed time stories and you guessed it she took Green Eggs and Ham. And so as I settled down one night to read my daughter this childhood classic I saw something that I had never seen before. If Sam had of been your typical Christian from you typical church than when his friend said, “I do not like them Sam-I-Am, I do not like green eggs and ham.” then Sam would have said, “OK. No problem” and that would have been the end of the story. Sam would have happily gone on his way and his friend would never have experienced the joy of eating green eggs and ham. But no, Sam wasn't content to take no for an answer. Luckily for his friend, Sam wasn't like a typical Christian in a typical church; he wasn't worried about offending his friend or driving him away. All he knew was how important it was that his friend make the decision to try green eggs and ham.
Now I am not trying to trivialise this sermon, but think about it, if a character in a Dr. Seuss story book knows the importance of being persistent when trying to convince someone to try something new, how come we don't?
Well needless to say I determined that if I ever got a chance to start a church from scratch it would be firmly grounded in the principles of Green Eggs and Ham. About this time you must be getting ready to lean over to your spouse and say, “I knew it was a cult Margaret, let's get out of here” Just bear with me OK? What can we learn from Sam-I-Am this morning, March 6, 2011?
1) We Need To Care About People. Sam I Am wanted his friend to try green eggs and ham. Why? Because he liked his friend and he felt like his friend was missing something in his life, in this case it was green eggs and ham. But he cared enough that he not only asked his friend but he continued to ask his friend. His friend mattered to him. Cornerstone Wesleyan Church needs to put people number one. We need to care that people need Jesus or they will go to hell, in essence
2) We Need To Be Convicted Of The Validity Of The Gospel.
That's always the kicker isn't' it? Just how convinced are we that this book is true? How convinced are we that there is a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned? If what this book says is true, then those who accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives will spend eternity with God. But by the same token those who don't accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life will spend a Christless eternity in torment. Now I realize that heaven and hell can be a little abstract to grasp, but somehow we as a church need to become convinced of the value of Jesus Christ in the lives of people, not only for the here and now but for the there and then. And once we become convinced of that then we have to be ready to communicate that to people in a culturally relevant way. That is culturally relevant to this area, in March of 2011. And that can be tough, after all if it was easy every church would be doing it and they’re not. Too many churches are sound evangelically and sound asleep evangelistically.