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Belonging To The People

two handsCelibacy has been to me like the best tasting wine that increases its flavour with age. I have no regrets at beginning my journey so young – starting it when I was just 21. Of course it hasn’t always been easy, very painful at times, but my frailty and human weakness have been no match for God’s faithful love and kindness.

Celibates need to be at heart, mothers and fathers – forget ‘your’ ministry, the action, pioneering, all the things you want to do for God. If primarily we don’t get our hands dirty and become mothers and fathers who can love and nurture our next generations then we’ll lose sight of our precious calling, live only for our own gain and many souls will be lost.

I wrote the following in 2011. A few days before I wrote this someone had said to me that they felt I “belonged to the people” and the words struck a chord deep inside my gut when they said it. It was a reminder again of the very heart of my call as a celibate. I knew I had to express something of what the words meant to me.

Belonging to the people
Body, life and soul to them
Given and poured out as a soothing balm
Bringing healing through His precious name

So many forgotten, lonely people
Who will bring joy to their hearts?
Who will show them something can change
That a Saviour has taken their place
And love has won?

A world of dying people
Who have forgotten the community of love
What does it mean to think of others better than yourself?
Lost to humanity in so many places
We must show it, who know

Where are the mothers, the fathers?
Those who will forget themselves and forsake their natural desires
Reaching out to many who are orphans
Who know nothing of belonging to a family
Is that you?

My mind has been made up already
My heart cannot and will not turn back
Caring nothing for my reputation or own satisfaction
Souls to win, all my joy, my focus
Eternity in sight.

Belonging to the people
Body, life and soul to them
Given and poured out as a soothing balm
Bringing healing through His precious name.


Posted by on Wed 20th Mar 2013 in Poetry


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What Are You Living For? Good, Better Or Best?

Malcolm Lisle lives in a Jesus Fellowship community house, ‘Royal Standard’, in Sheffield and has been a committed Christian celibate for three years. He tells of the time when God offered him an important life choice.

When I was a student, I knew what I wanted out of life. I wanted a well-paid job, I wanted to get married and I wanted to have a house and a car. I was absolutely besotted with the woman who led the Sunday morning prayer meeting at the university.

My plans didn’t work out. The adorable Christian woman who led the prayer meeting remained an acquaintance. I was unemployed for twelve years after leaving university. This was a sad time in my life, but a fulfilling one. I learned to live by faith. God provided for my needs. I learned to live for Jesus, to dedicate my life to helping others. I loved giving money to Christian organisations around the world and I was faithful to my church. I learned to be less self-centred.

Some years later, God showed me a vision of a Hi-Fi catalogue that was around when I was a student. There were three categories of Hi-Fi, good, better and best. God asked me, “Malcolm, which Hi-Fi do you want?” I had always wanted the best Hi-Fi. I knew God was speaking to me about celibacy. “God,” I said, “I want what’s best from you.”

To be a fulfilled celibate, you need some definite work of God to dedicate your life to. Community goes with celibacy, so does being a volunteer in a Jesus Centre, and so does planting churches. The celibate has fewer responsibilities than married people. If I wanted to go to Swansea, I wouldn’t have to worry about whether my wife wanted to go to, I wouldn’t have to find a new school for my children; it would be so much easier than it would be if I was married. If I want to stay late at the office to write this letter, I don’t need to worry about my wife and children expecting me home. According to the Bible, the reason for choosing celibacy is to serve God more.  Without that desire to serve God, singleness can become very selfish.

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Posted by on Mon 29th Oct 2012 in Contemporary


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An interview with Andy

Andy - given to God

Andy: ‘I wanted to give myself to God as fully as possible’

Andy has been a committed celibate for over ten years.

Undividedblog recently asked him a few questions about his celibacy. Here’s what he said:

Tell us a little about yourself and why you are celibate

I became celibate in 2001 after I had been a Christian for eight years. I was becoming increasingly aware of God’s power and love towards me. I felt like God was limitless and that I was limitless in him. I wanted to give myself to him as fully as possible. It was a very difficult decision because I had always wanted to get married. But God softened my heart gradually until I reached the point where I chose celibacy.

How have you found celibacy? (i.e. your experience)

There was a time shortly after I committed to celibacy when I really regretted it. I felt like I had ruined my life. I was not living in Christian community at the time and celibacy seemed pointless. But when I moved into community, celibacy made perfect sense.

Although it can be tough at times, I regularly thank God for the gift of celibacy because it makes me more available to him and the church.

How have people both inside and outside the church responded to your celibate commitment?

When I made my celibacy commitment, I was a member of a church where the gift of celibacy was not properly understood. Although most people were supportive of my decision, some didn’t like it and said I shouldn’t talk about it. Others thought it was a bit weird and that there must be something wrong with me if I didn’t want to get married. I found that hard.

In the Jesus army, there is a much clearer understanding of the vision and purpose of celibacy and so I feel valued. New friends often ask questions about it and I really enjoy sharing with them my passion for God and how that is expressed in celibacy.

What is your vision as a celibate?

This has changed over the years. When I first became a celibate, I had delusions of grandeur! I thought God was going to make me into some kind of Christian superstar! I hoped to be an international Christian celebrity speaking at churches all around the world!

I’ve realised that celibacy is a much humbler path than that! Single-heartedness in my walk with God. Availability to others. Freedom to love all kinds of people.

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Posted by on Fri 7th Sep 2012 in Interviews


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