THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN IN 1982 WITH MY FIRST CHRISTIAN CAR (59 FORD FAIRLANE) BROTHERS GLEN AND JEFF HOLDING MY FIRST BANNER WITH MYSELF ON THE HOOD OF THIS 55 MPH TRACT. USING THIS MOVING PULPIT WE WOULD PARK THE CAR ANYWHERE NEAR A CROWD, I WOULD STAND AND PREACH FROM THE HOOD WHICH HAD A PAINTED BIBLE, WITH BROTHER GLEN RAISING THE BANNER AND BROTHER JEFF WOULD ANSWER QUESTIONS. WE WERE ALL ABOUT 21 YEARS OLD IN THIS PICTURE AND THAT FIRE THEN IS STILL BURNING TODAY (Jer.20:9).
My name is Ruben Israel, I was not assembled as speculated from body parts of dead Christian martyrs, pieced together in some deep catacomb somewhere by monks and brought to life during some healing service. I am Hispanic, with real parents, born and raised in Los Angeles.
I’ve been a Christian since the age of 18 right from high school. I grew up in the Catholic faith following all the traditions but after my conversion I began reading the Bible for the first time. In which I now had numerous questions regarding what I read vs. the faith I grew up with. So I met with my local priest to discuss my conflict, and to my amazement I was told not to read the Bible for that will only confuse me. As he (the priest) was the one educated on Biblical matters and my job was just to attend mass. That meeting infuriated me, that the following Sunday I did attend mass. Only I was outside on the sidewalk preaching at the bottom of the steps with my Bible raised exhorting those walking up into Church. I knew most of the people walking in, they were my neighbors, people I saw or knew in school and even my mother was seated in Church. That day was my first time I’ve ever preached in public and that one preach killed my flesh more than any other venue I’ve since preached at. My message was very simple that day. Everyone was admonished to know the God of the Bible and that message has not changed in almost 30 years of public preaching across sidewalks in America. As I now look back, I do not begrudge my youth and wished I sinned more, I am thankful to God for taking full advantage of my youth and my parents raising me in a home. I never struggled with booze or drugs because I never bit that apple, even though most people I assumed I became a Christian in prison or baggage from drugs or bakers by the way I look.
I am the youngest of five children. I thank my parents who were a great dynamic duo in my life which gave me character. My mother was a stepping stone to my faith and my father taught me to stand up for what I believed and I will always been grateful to them. As my two brothers served in the military, my father would call a family meeting as we prayed for our government and my brothers every month at the kitchen table. One brother did 4 years as a chaplain’s assist and my older brother did 20 years in the 82nd air borne. I was raised with a very pro-God and country childhood and to this day I am thankful for living in America and our military. My father owned a barber shop, while my mother stayed home to raise us kids in a three bedroom one bath home. As a young child my father would take me to the shop with him on Saturdays, my job would be to sweep the floor around the barber chairs, clean the mirrors and shine shoes. This was the watering hole for men, where they come and talk politics, religion, sports or the latest current events while waiting for their hair cut. Where everyone that walked into the shop contributed to this market place of thought.
I am not a full time preacher, I work with my hands as per the curse of Adam with the sweat of my brow. I own my own a contacting business and I make time to preach the God of the Bible often. I do not solicit money nor do I push a newsletter seeking people to support me and my exploits. And frankly preaching in public is not my calling, not my ministry, not even my gift, it is my duty as a believer. I have preached nationwide on the streets, beaches, concerts, big events (city-state-nation-world wide), and colleges since 1980. Over the many years I have been jailed, detained by police, beat, punched more times than I call recall by hearten, had hundreds of gallons of spit and liquor on my body and even had someone ejaculate on my leg, not once but twice as they mocked God. I have seen humanity at its worse and understand why a holy God can hate both the sinner and sin. I comprehend why God flooded the earth and will put His very creation in fire. My life is threatened so often I lost count, not because of my skin color, not because of my politics beliefs, nor my surname, but because of my faith in Jesus THE Christ. Years ago Steven Keeler and I were arrested at Mardi Gras for “disturbing the peace” during a Mardi Gras parade, go figure?? I am honored to serve God, I am humbled to not just read the scriptures but taste them. Where your biblical scholar or pastor will at best cross reference a Bible text on persecution or give a history lesion on the issue, I have had the privilege to sit in a cell for my faith. In America, to date. I am willing to fight for my country, even with all of its flaws, but for my faith, THAT I will die for. My hope is to encourage believers and Churches to be bold and defend the faith outside the four walls.
My wife Colleen and I have raised our children and our Christianity is beyond just a Sunday thing. For example when we married, the city we were honeymooning in just happened to host a sodomite parade, so the next day after I said “I Do” I was out doing for God. We live in a quiet neighborhood, where I water my lawn, wash my cars, and take the trash out when my wife asks, just a regular Joe. Yet when moved by the Father from the bull-pin I spare not my voice and make no small stir. My life is one massive debate contesting the standard of a holy God to mankind, yet when I come home my wife takes my shoes off and makes our home a place of refuge for me. We love to walk our dogs and our home is a revolving door where street preachers and active Christians worldwide stay. We have home Bible studies on Monday nights as we read verse by verse, with those meeting taking up to 3 hours long. These meetings are not for the speed readers, because it has taken over 10 years just to plow the four Gospels, as we consider every angle.
For over two decades when I pack my vehicle on a Sunday morning with signs, banners, mega horns and any other tools needed for that day’s preach, as I see my neighbors leaving for their particular 45 minute Church service. Since most big events are on Sundays, I can not go to a regular Church service, which is why we have meetings on an off day like Monday and at a home where we do not need to rent a building. Everything rotates around preaching. I do not know what it would be like going to Church for a Sunday service then coming home to watch a football game. My Sundays (or weekends) have been preaching in public to large crowds that could take hours or all day and I just do not know of no other way to live. Since I became a Christian this has been my way of life and I’ve waxed strong doing so, it’s as normal as breathing.
We work with many Churches from many denominations nationwide as those that work with us understand the reason for confrontational evangelism. Most ministries are a bit more glamorous, but street preaching is the armpit in the Body of Christ. The Rodney Dangerfield of Christianity if you will, for we get “no respect.” Never the less the Body of Christ has many parts and that is one fraction of many. For the big picture is, when a sinner dies and meets God, that sinner has had every opportunity to know Jesus. The Father in His great wisdom will send someone knocking on their door, another trying to befriend him, some inviting him to Church, others leaving booklets or pamphlets to read, others will pray or weep for this lost soul, AND THEN GOD WILL EVEN SEND SOMEONE LIKE US IN YOUR FACE TYPE TO GET THEIR ATTENTION. Now that sinner has no excuse not to believe in Jesus, nor can he pled ignorance on that Great Day, for he has heard the full gospel from every scenario.
We started a group called Bible Believers in the eighties with the emphasis on confrontational evangelism and home Bible studies. To date we have well over 40 chapters nationwide of active Christians and Churches under the umbrella of ‘Bible Believers’ that are a bold witness in their region. So now with this network more places can be covered with preachers, signs and banners with attorneys watching our free speech rights. I believe in almost every Church there are certain men inside those pews that want to do more than just sit in a service on Sunday, or where a Church might quench them for getting fired up. The Lord is having us meet these men, as God is stirring the pot in these dark days when much of the Church is keeping their faith personal and private.
We all know when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God called them in the cool of the day saying “Adam where are you” as they hid from Him knowing what they had sinned against God. Well, today the 21 century Adam does not hide. The 21 century Adam is proud to be naked, be boasts in his nakedness and laughs or mocks at God without shame of his bareness yet God is longsuffering still calling out to them. Using us as His mouth piece, as vessels in the public proclaiming to the twenty first century Adam to come forth…….Selah…….
When I preach it will offend people and that does not concern me in the lest, for my goal in life, my core reason of why I do what I do, is not to offend a holy God and the message I have been given to herald from the roof top in this wicked theater we live.
Ruben Israel, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ