In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,  until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (ESV)
This past Sunday as I prepared to preach on this passage I was reminded of being in elementary school and sitting through safety training. “In case you find yourself on fire, stop, drop and roll.” My first thought was, “WHAT! I could catch on fire!” Of course, the premise is simple: stop running and fanning the flames trying to consume you, drop to the ground so you can then roll and put out the flames through smothering them against the ground.” I think we can all safely say that none of us wants to catch on fire and be a human candle.
Of course, when we WANT to be on fire in our Christ life we rarely think these principles apply to us. We think if we are to fan the flames of passion for God we need to go FASTER and feed the flame! We can spend time on the ground we need to fly like the eagles and SOAR! And who wants to smother anything?! We just want to be in motion for Jesus. According to Jesus, if we truly want to produce fruit for him, if we truly want to be impassioned for the Kingdom, if we really want to be empowered and see God do amazing things in and through our lives, we need to, “Stop! Drop! Then roll!”
We first need to stop and abide in Christ. We need to get connected to and stay connected to the vine. There aren’t any branches that can leave the vine and produce fruit. In fact, the branches themselves might be the carriers of the fruit but its the nutrients carried to them by the vine that enables them to have any fruit at all!
 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (ESV)
If you find your relationship with God very dry perhaps you have disconnected from the Vine? Perhaps you have run ahead to stir the fire but have had the exact opposite become your reality. You need to Stop and be with Jesus so he can produce fruit THROUGH you.
Step Two: let the Holy Spirit DROP on you. Don’t just sit in the Word of God but ask God to make it transformative in your heart and mind. Ask God for the power of the Holy Spirit to give you strength and wisdom and love BEFORE you start your day. It’s only through the Spirit we can even begin to live for God!
Step Three: then ROLL! Once we have solidified our connection to the Vine — once we have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, fresh, every day, THEN we can go and serve Jesus in the world with power. And what a power that is! According to Romans, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us!
So why am I writing this AFTER I have already preached on the passage? In the book of James 1:22-25 we read,
 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (ESV)
Yesterday I started reading through the Bible in a year. It’s been a couple of years since I have done this and I decided to read through the Bible chronologically. I am now in Day #2 having read up to and including Genesis 7 and already I know God is more present than He was last week. Already, I am more inspired in my spiritual walk. Already, my hunger and thirst for God’s Word is growing. I was encouraged to do this by one friend and today I was able have another friend join me in this adventure through the Bible. Let me encourage you — if you are wanting more in your relationship with God, stop, drop then roll. Get into God’s Word, spend time with God in prayer (this is a RELATIONSHIP not a RELIGION). Speak to your pastors or elders if you want help finding reading plans or help with prayer times but DO SOMETHING! Don’t just continue wandering in a spiritual desert wondering why there isn’t more. Get connected to the Vine and see how the Lord’s meets you! These verse apply to the exiles returning to their land once they have returned to the Lord but the heart of the Lord is the same for us when we feel like we have wandered and our heart’s home is not anchored in God.
 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (ESV)