A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from His roots a Branch will bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1
Israel was a sprawling tree of pride. That’s exactly why it had to be cut down.
There had to be stump-cutting death before there was ever shoot-growing life. Israel was relying on the strength of their branches. How could a shoot ever deliver them from the Assyrians and the Babylonians? Sometimes the beginning of revival is the cutting down of a tree.
Revival requires a cutting down! A leveling of our tower-of-Babel churches and institutions that bleeds of human engineering, striving, and self-determination. God is a footnote. His voice is lost in the roar of the waves—professors, authors, board members, family members—a sea of voices! God’s message for the church, curled up on a tiny scroll, placed in a bottle, is adrift, lost in man-capped waves.
“To God be the glory” exchanged for self-shepherding ministries built from higher reasoning, not from “God says”—a twisted hollow tree growing in a wilderness.
Our ministries, fancy titles, manicured lawns and fine-crafted houses built in His name. All of it must be burnt down until all that is left is the Chief Cornerstone. He must be Chief or nothing at all.
Revival fires burn everything to the stump. Everything consumed! When Jesus shows up, He comes in the back door with a match. Like moths, we flock to the tiny flame. We love the flames emissions—the passion, heat, and light flickering in the dark—until He sets us on fire and we realize to stay in His flame, there will be pain and inevitable death.
Our churches pray for revival! We hunger for revival! But, often we ask for Jesus to come on our terms. We have a theology for Jesus promoting our ministry and growing our church numerically, but little room in the inn for a Jesus that calls us to be one of the few dirty shepherds or a congregation attracting less than a handful of out-of-town, no-name wise men.
We have room in our theology for the sprawling tree, but little room for the stump. “Blessed are those who are not offended at me,” Jesus says to John the Baptist whose head and successful ministry was on the chopping block. Even the amazing ministry of John was nothing, until Jesus was the head.
We desire revival! But, then, heads roll and money tables overturn... “Jesus, that’s my head! Jesus, that’s my money!” Jesus will strip us of everything. Nothing is off the table, everything on the chopping block. But, for those of us that give ourselves to the purifying, beautifully painful flame of Jesus, who dare put our head, and even our ministries’ underneath His axe, something so significant and striking will spring forth, a bursting-with-life green shoot will sprout.
Few will be attracted to the Sprout. Many will bypass Him for more attractive, high-towering (hollow) trees of ministry. But, a few shepherds and a handful of wise men will see His beauty and call Him Revival. Many will look on Him and say, “That’s not big enough!” But, for those who watch Him grow, the pain of the stump will be eclipsed by the beauty of the shoot.
He will grow into a beautiful tree one day. He will be high and lifted up. He will draw all men to himself. But, before the 3,000-in-one day Pentecost Growth Revival, we must experience the little known Jesse Stump Revival. Cut to the stump. Only then can the mustard seed of Jesus take root, and only from this tree will we bear fruit.
Matt Mitchell is a minister and intercessor at the Appalachia Prayer Center. He has been in active, pulpit ministry for nearly 15 years. Matt carries a passion for prayer and revival, both in the church and out on the streets. He and his wife Amy are parents to Samuel and Elijah.