Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Come out and help others who are ashamed.














Stigma Websters definition- a mark of shame or discredit

It seems like everyone knows it. Most people with mental illness who attend church refuse to broach the subject. Why the silence? They are ashamed.
The result is a person who suffers from one of the most painful diseases known to mankind, faces it alone and then because of this error, the devil gets the advantage.

One reason for this misplaced stigma is many in church leadership regard the roots of mental illness as moral and/or spiritual. This non-shepherding approach assumes that spiritual people do not get depressed or hear voices. This approach breeds a critical spirit. It also drives the person away from the church and discourages transparency.

The Lord Jesus Christ and a weak spirit.

Another reason for this misplaced stigma is a failure to listen to what Scripture says about believers in a weakened state. It was said of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 12:20; A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out, till He leads justice to victory(NIV). A bruised reed represents a person who is emotionally damaged. This emotional pain could stem from problems with assurance of salvation, it could be from a strong Satanic attack or it could be the result of a mental illness. A bruised reed is almost broken, a smoldering wick is one that is flickering and its flame is almost out; while both are "almost" destroyed, they will not be because Jesus Christ makes sure they will survive. If He is so generous to His weak ones, why should others try to break the spirit of the depressed?

God has chosen the weak to confound the wise

Scripture tells us in I Corinthians 1:26-29 that God has chosen the weak and
foolish of this world to confound the wise. The apostle Paul said that he gloried in his weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. No one really has it altogether.
We should glory that we have a vital union with Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
A third reason for this misplaced stigma is a failure to look at the experience
of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Mark 14:33,34- ; And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch . The word for distressed in the Greek is ekthambeho. It means to, throw into terror or amazement. Please notice the word is preceded by "very." He was very terrified and surprised at his suffering. The word in the NASB troubled is Ademoneo in the Greek.

Thayer who was a Greek scholar says about this word. It means to be troubled, in great distress or anguish, depressed.
This is the strongest of the three Greek words in the NT for depression
.
Jesus Christ was wholly God but also wholly man, the theanthropic person, the God/Man. He felt depression and like the writer of Hebrews says, He was touched by the feelings of our infirmities. He is the One who understands your suffering and He does not condemn you or blame you; Christ is not ashamed of you and your illness. Take heart; He knows.

__________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A letter from a pastor in Myanmar (formerly Burma)

I would like to share with you a recent email that I received from a pastor who has an orphanage in the country of Myanmar. I had emailed him about the news report of Christian orphans being killed by evil men in his country. His email below helps show how God has used Heartfelt Ministries in his life and ministry.

He has asked that we come and minister to his church and orphanage. We also have had pastors from Pakistan and Australia ask us to come and share our ministry. Our problem is we don't have the funding. I will publish his email as sent.
If you would like to support our non profit ministry please go to our donate now link at the bottom of the page. If you get the check in the mail before January 1 2011 you would be able to get a IRS tax reduction (America Only). You can also donate be credit card on our website.


The letter

Dear Steve,
Thank you for your continually praying and sharing for my orphans. Yes, this bombing in our country is very tragic. They slay the widow and the stranger, And murder the orphans.(Psalm.94:6).I ask question myself that Why God allow the wicked people to kill theorphans, I thought, my tears felt down, I pray for them, I could notstop crying for them,as we the Christians excite to use thisChristmas, how the orphans would have hoping to use the birth day ofour Lord Jesus Christ.I, my orphans and Bible students have two daysfasting prayer for them,and we keep them in the hand of the Lord.I pray that, Remember this, O Lord, that the enemy has reviled, And afoolish people has spurned Your name, Do not forget the life of Yourafflicted forever. Consider the covenant, for the dark places of theland are full of the habitations of violence. Let not the oppressedreturn dishonored; let the afflicted and needy Praise Your name. Thank you for your great love and consider for my orphans.We pray that the Lord may fulfill your desire and visions what youwant to serve for His glory.may God richly bless you.
In His great Commission,
Name witheld

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My letter to the judge who sentenced Lindsay's killer.



Honorable Dennis Kolenda
61st District Court
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
April 7, 2002

Dear Judge,

I respectfully write to you as one who God, by His providence, has appointed to determine the judicial sentence of Timothy Fields according to the laws of the state of Michigan.





Lindsay was a law abiding citizen.


First, I would like to say that as a father of four children, I have always taught my children by example and by precept to obey the laws of the United States of America.

Secondly, I have also instructed them that the disobeying of those laws should be met with swift and just punishment.

In addition, Robyn and I taught them that ignorance of the law was no excuse for violating it. We taught them that our country is only as good as its individual citizens, and the laws are only effective to the extent that they are enforced. We painstakingly inculcated into them the truth that God had blessed this nation because of individuals and churches that cried out to Him for salvation, protection and welfare.

Call 911.

On the tragic day of September 11, 2001 when external enemies attacked our nation, our daughter Lindsay came to our house upset but interested in world events. During the conversation regarding the mayhem of the day, I told Lindsay that our church was having a special prayer meeting for the nation and the families of the victims. She said, Dad, I would like to pray for our nation's spiritual welfare and the hurting family members of those who were killed in the attack. Little did I know that I, along with many others at the scene of her accident, would be screaming, call911.

Our Lindsay had taken a separate car to church so that she could pick up her husband from work after the service. We were so thankful that she was living for Jesus Christ and that this nineteen year old citizen was a woman of prayer. Lindsay never hurt a flea. She often would go with me to help the homeless persons who were living under bridges in Grand Rapids. She was always for the underdog.
She was the opposite of Fields.

A New Baby, Emily Hope

The baby's name was to be Emily Hope. Lindsay was going to set up the crib with her husband on September 12, 2001. Instead of setting up the crib that day, we were in a funeral home setting up her funeral.


Two teenagers, two destinies

She had met Timothy Fields and the two other young men in a violent fashion on September 11, 2001. I remember seeing Fields without a care in the world slumped over the steering wheel, crossing four lanes of traffic and then crashing into Lindsay. The horror of that scene will be forever imprinted on my mind. I saw that two other men were also in Field's car.

We were behind Lindsay and saw everthing

We were following right behind Lindsay. She was trapped in the car and I could not get her out. I pushed back her lovely hair and kissed her forehead. Later, she lay in the casket with her beautiful baby in her arms; both showed severe trauma to their heads and faces.


The driver had enough drugs in his body to put dowm six men, Head of Michigan State Police Forensics Lab.

Fields was shooting up heroin with his friends while driving. Blood testing also showed that he had large doses of marijuana and crack cocaine in his body. He had stolen our precious treasures from us.


On that day our nation stood still, but not Fields and his friends. They partied on and became terrorists at home on a day that would live in infamy. Fields' heroin most likely came from the poppy fields of a Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Before the judge came into the courtroom, I said to any one would listen;
We talk about the terroists all over the world, what about the terroists at home? I meant by this, not only drunk drivers, but drugged drivers impaired. These home terroists use a car as their weapon and generally get light sentences.

When I later learned of the results of Timothy Field's blood tests and that our daughter was killed by a driving drug addict, I was tempted to kill him and his two passengers. However, as a believer in Jesus Christ and as a law abiding citizen I resisted this temptation.

Judge, we are powerless and you are in the driver's seat. We pray and expect you to impose a sentence to the fullest extent of the law on Fields and his companions.

With respect Steven Bloem Senior

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mental Ilness and its Stigma, Part 2


Do Nerves Break Down?



Another reason why stigma persists in the churches and in society as well, is the continuing use of the term nervous breakdown to describe mental illness. This term began to be used at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States. It conjures up the images of women, lacking in energy, eating chocolates, popping downers to calm their frazzled nerves.

The term nervous breakdown is a misnomer arising out of Freudian and neo-Freudian psychology(see our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like Losing It Bloem Steve&Robyn(2005) Kregel Publications,pp 32,33).

I still remember being so depressed that I could not candidate at church in Florida. I had gotten better and tried to reapply. The head deacon said to me, in a smooth southern drawl, Steve, do you have a case of the nerves? They did not want me back.
Certainly, mental illness has to do with the central nervous system. But the term nervous breakdown represents a pejorative perspective on mental illness. Mental illness is biological in its origin. Christians cannot claim to have immunity from it.

Let’s Pray For Our Poor, Mentally Ill Member

Evidences of the stigma of mental illness in churches persist. For instance, when is the last time in a church prayer meeting that you heard a prayer request for someone who is in a psychiatric hospital? If people in your church or your town would really be honest, they would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.

However, most church goers will not mention mental illness, their silence for themselves or their loved ones in the church speaks loudly to us. Instead, there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, having a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.

Heaven Knows No Stigma

Thankfully, there is no stigma in Heaven about our subject. Millions of perfected saints in glory are praising God that the Lord Jesus Christ through His shed blood and resurrection has delivered them from the horrible pain of mental illness, which to many was feared more than death itself. Matt. 5:3 tells us, Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the kingdom of God.


A pastor friend of mine contacted me about a godly man in his congregation who had severe mental illness. The tried Christian died suddenly, in the middle of reading his Bible one morning and went to be with the Lord.

My friend, the pastor said, “Now his torment is over forever.”
Let us be brave and face the horrible suffering of mental illness head on.
By doing this we will bring glory and honor to God. Romans 12:16, Be of the same mind toward one another ; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation

Bloem, Steve and Robyn, CAMI Leader Guide,(2007) available only from the authors. Study Guides are also available. Please follow the link to read reviews of Broken Minds.

Thanks, Steve and Robyn Bloem
My email is camimovement@yahoo.com
__________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heartfelt Ministries is moving.

Hello to all who read this blog.
I have not written a blog for almost a week. The reason for this is Robyn and I have moved to West Palm Beach, Florida where we will be temporarily staying with her Mother. Heartfelt Ministries has moved with us. Nothing has changed in regard to it except local contacts. Our new phone number is 616-427-0775.
If you are supporting us please use the same address in Grand Rapids. We will soon be switching to another address and phone number. We will let you know what they are. We still do phone counseling, seminars etc. Please be patient about my blog. It will take a while to begin blogging again.

Thanks
Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.
Director of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is Hell Real?


My flippant remark about Hell

When I was a teenager and did not know the Lord, I heard frequently the words, Go to Hell . My flippant and even blasphemous remark was, I got kicked out for selling ice cream cones. I had been taught the idea of a real hell in my church and from my parents but suppressed that teaching. After my conversion, I have come to know through the Holy Spirit and the word of God that hell is real and not everyone will be saved. Our Lord Jesus said, Enter through the narrow gate ; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction,and there are many who enter through it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (NKJV Matthew 7:13,14)

Without the wrath of God and the existence of a real hell we would not need a Savior. God's love won for us eternal salvation. The Father planned it, the Son executed it and the Spirit applies it.

Associated Press article - hell unpopular, it is not user friendly.

I copied an article some years ago from our local newspaper written by an Associated Press writer. The title was “Hell’s Fires Growing Cold among Americans.” The writer states,
The long running crusade by liberal Christians and Universalists against the eternal punishment idea seems to be getting somewhere. Religious observers say preachers increasingly avoid mentioning hell. And polls indicate increasing numbers of people don’t believe in such a place.
Why is this so? It is because hell is not a user friendly term. People are afraid of hell and they don’t want to hear about it.

Paul's exhortation to Timothy

This phenomena is spoken of in 2 Timothy 4:3-5,
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
We may contrast today’s “no hell preachers” with the honesty of the great English puritan/ preacher, Thomas Brooks. In his series of sermons “Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices,” he preaches about those who die without Jesus Christ;
But this is not all; thou shalt not be only shut out of heaven, but shut up in hell forever; not only shut out from the presence of God and angels but shut up with devils and damned spirits forever; not only shut out from those sweet, surpassing, inexpressible and everlasting pleasures that be at God’s right hand but shut up forever under those torments that are ceaseless, without remedy and endless.” He then quotes the great preacher Chrysostom; preaching about hell saying, Let us not seek where it is, but how we shall escape it.

Brooks, Mr. Thomas. The Works of Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices”(1861). London: James Nisbet and Company, p.56

Make sure you have sincerely and surely trusted in Jesus Christ who bore the penalty for our sin on the cross to keep us from going to hell and to ensure everlasting life with pleasure and enjoyment.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great Quotes from Great Men






There are many who preach about the Lord Jesus Christ to no effect and we can see why. They have no doctrine of sin, they never convict or convince people of sin. They always hold Christ before men and say that it is enough. But it is not enough; for the effect of sin upon us is such that we shall never fly to Christ until we realize that we are paupers... The first two essentials to salvation and to rejoicing in Christ are the consciousness of our need, and the consciousness of the riches of grace that are in Christ."{Lloyd Jones, D. Martyn, (1959) }Sermon on the Mount Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, ( pp. 199,200).










"It is all very well for those who are in robust health and full of spirits to blame those whose live are sicklied o're with the pale cast of melancholy, but the evil is a real as a gaping wound., and all the more hard to bear because it lies so much in the region of the soul that to the inexperienced it appears to be a mere matter of fancy and diseased imagination. Reader never ridicule the nervous and the hypochondriac, their pains are real; though much of the evil lies in the imagination is is not imaginary."
Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, 3 vols. (Newark, De.:Cornerstone, 1869, 2.132)








"If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend on it that you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.” - D.L. Moody









He (man) is an enemy to His maker; a rebel against Jehovah; a blank-nay, worse--a blot in God's creation; dead to every virtue, dead to everything but sin;..... lost to every gracious purpose of his being; A withered branch, fit only to be plucked off, and cast into the fire; stubble, ready for the burning. "Let him alone!" said Reason. "Cut him down!" cried Justice. "I hate the workers of iniquity!" added Holiness. "He or I must perish!" exclaimed Truth.
"Spare him! Spare him! Spare him!" pleaded weeping Mercy. And Wisdom came forth, leading the Son of God, and said: "I have found a ransom!”Behold the Mediator!" And all the attributes met and embraced at the manger, and kissed each other at the cross"
Evans, Christmas. (c.1846) " Sermons of Christmas Evans" (Philadelphia: J.

Harmstead), p. 123.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mental Ilness and Stigma of Mental Illness in the Church, Part 2


Do Nerves Break Down?



Another reason why stigma persists in the churches and in society as well, is the continuing use of the term nervous breakdown to describe mental illness. This term began to be used at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States. It conjures up the images of women, lacking in energy, eating chocolates, popping downers to calm their frazzled nerves.

The term nervous breakdown is a misnomer arising out of Freudian and neo-Freudian psychology.(see our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like Losting It,Bloem, Steve & Robyn(2005) Kregel Publications,pp 32,33)

I still remember being so depressed that I could not candidate at church in Florida. I had gotten better and tried to reapply. The head deacon said to me, in a smooth southern drawl, "Steve, do you have a case of the "nerves?" They did not want me back.
Certainly, mental illness has to do with the central nervous system. But the term nervous breakdown represents a pejorative perspective on mental illness. Mental illness is biological in its origin. Christians cannot claim to have immunity from it.

Let’s Pray For Our Poor, Mentally Ill Member

Evidences of the stigma of mental illness in churches persist. For instance, when is the last time in a church prayer meeting that you heard a prayer request for someone who is in a psychiatric hospital? If people in your church or your town would really be honest, they would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.

However, most will not mention mental illness, their silence for themselves or their loved ones in the church speaks loudly to us. Instead, there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.

Heaven Knows No Stigma

Thankfully, there is no stigma in Heaven about our subject. Millions of perfected saints in glory are praising God that the Lord Jesus Christ through His shed blood and resurrection has delivered them from the horrible pain of mental illness, which to many was feared more than death itself. Matt. 5:3 tells us, Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the kingdom of God.

A pastor friend of mine contacted me about a godly man in his congregation who had severe mental illness. The tried Christian died suddenly, in the middle of reading his Bible one morning and went to be with the Lord.
My friend, the pastor said, “Now his torment is over forever.”
Let us be brave and face the horrible suffering of mental illness head on.
By doing this we will bring glory and honor to God. Romans 12:16, Be of the same mind toward one another ; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Bloem, Steve and Robyn, CAMI Leader Guide, (2007) available only from the authors. Study Guides are also available. Please follow the link below to read reviews of Broken Minds.

Thanks, Steve and Robyn Bloem
My email is camimovement@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Abasing in the Basement

Trying to Figure it Out

It was proving to be very difficult living in the basement of our relatives house. I was having my ups and downs. Sometimes I would pray and feel God’s peace; sometimes I would pray and feel nothing. The strain was enormous. I was falling somewhere between total acceptance of God’s will…and the impulse to slam cabinet doors. Two resources helped. First, I read Edith Schaeffer's book, Affliction This books application of what Scripture says about suffering helped me to understand God in a deeper way. Mrs. Schaeffer forced me to stop asking "Why?” and start asking "Why not?"
With her book and my Bible spread before me at the table. I spent mornings trying to make sense out of our situation.

Serve God in the Alone Times

Second, I recalled a sermon I'd heard one Christmas Season. Our Grand Rapids pastor, John White, was considering Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had found herself going through labor and child birth in a small, smelly stable, without help except for her husband, Joseph. She could not understand the full import of that moment. That couple sat there alone, looking into the face of God, the Savior of the world.

In that sermon we were exhorted to serve God in the alone times, when no one knew what God might be doing.

I began to look at God’s providential hand in our lives. As I sat by myself,at the kitchen table reading His Word, remembering that sermon, and praying in my faltering faith, I knew the greatest event in history still was at work in my heart.

I was still His child. I had not run from the cross. He was still enabling me to trust Him by faith. It was not a faith that said “Everything will be okay.” It was a faith that said “God is in control". If things are not okay, we will still follow." I was finally able to accept God's will, realizing that I may never fully understand why He has allowed a certain trial. But His plan is good, even if the reason for what He is doing seems to be none of my business. This was taken from Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, Kregel Publications,p. 83

Monday, November 14, 2011

7 Things to Remember About Sex by Bob Lepine





Do Men and Women Think Differently about sex?? It’s no surprise that many husbands and wives think differently about sex. And these differences can easily become a source of conflict in marriage. With that in mind, I want to suggest seven things men need to remember about sex and seven things wives need to keep in mind as well:

What husbands should remember about sex

1. Hollywood sex is made up. It’s a fantasy. The people in romantic scenes in movies are actors. Don’t try to measure your marital sex against what you see in a romantic film.

2. Sex is probably (but not necessarily) a lower priority for your wife than it is for you. Are you as committed to meeting her needs and desires as you’d like her to be with your desire for sex? Could you even name her top three relationship needs? Here is one of them ...

3. Your wife needs a safe and secure relationship. In order for her to engage in sex with heart and mind and body, she needs to know that you will be there for her, that you are committed to her, and that she is your one and only.

4. Your wife wants to have sex with a companion, not with someone who simply shares her mailing address. If you’re not spending time having fun together in all kinds of settings, she’s going to be less motivated to be with you sexually.

5. You don’t need to have an affair to be an unfaithful husband. Whether you look at pornography or at other women, the Bible makes it clear that any lust for a woman who is not your wife is adultery.

6. There is no secret formula to arousal. If you think you have found a secret formula, and you attempt to repeat the recipe, your wife will change the secret. Women don’t want to be figured out. They also don’t want to be manipulated.

7. Your wife is insecure about her physical beauty. She sees all the flaws. Watch what you say to her.


What wives should remember about sex

1. Sex is God’s idea. He created it and gave it as a good gift to husbands and wives in marriage. It is a key part of His plan for how we become one in marriage.

2. For most men, this is a big deal—and it’s not because men are perverted or ungodly. God delights when a husband and wife enjoy marital intimacy.

3. How you respond to your husband when he initiates is critical. To be uninterested can communicate a lack of respect and honor for him. I’m not saying you need to say yes every time he initiates. But when you say no, explain why in a way that still affirms your desire for him.

4. Sex is a marital discipline. It’s a part of how we serve each other in marriage. It is wrong for a wife to use sex as a reward or a lack of sex as punishment. The Bible clearly teaches that husbands and wives are not to deprive each other in this area.

5. Men are visually oriented. No matter how you see yourself, he is stimulated by sight. Again, God is the One who made men with a desire to see women naked. And the only legitimate way for your husband to satisfy this God-given desire is for you to let him see you naked.

6. Men in romance novels and soap operas are made up. The strong, sensitive, caring men portrayed in most romance novels are fictional characters. No husband can live up to the near perfection an author presents.

7. Creativity is good. The Bible says that the marriage bed is undefiled. This means that a husband and wife have freedom to explore what brings them pleasure and enjoyment in the sexual arena of marriage. Neither of you should be pressured to do something you're uncomfortable with in the sexual relationship. But passion can be stirred by variety and creativity in the sexual relationship.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For Lindsay and Emily














This poem was written by my wife, Robyn Bloem, in December of 2001, just a few months after our daughter, Lindsay, was killed on September 11, 2001. She was eight months pregnant with our first grand child, Emily Hope, who was also pronounced dead at the scene. Robyn and I were driving behind her when it happened and two of our sons were also with us. We firmly believe that it was no accident that Lindsay went to church that night to pray for the families of the victims of those dreadful terrorist attacks. She also wanted to pray for the first responders, our President and the terrified nation. She and Emily were brutally killed by a seventeen year old man who was returning from a cancelled rock concert that night; cancelled because of the terrorist attacks. On his way home from the cancelled show, he and his buddies were shooting up heroin as they drove. The police found open syringes in their car. A few months later, we finally were told the toxicology reports. When the examined blood results came back, it stirred this response by the head of the Michigan State Forensics Lab; This man had enough heroin, crack and marijuana in his blood stream to put down six men.
I believe Robyn's response in this poem is a testimony to the strong faith she has in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Something's happened in my heart
That words cannot describe;
Life on earth has changed for me
Since my precious ones have died.

The angels were attending,
Their wings were closed to wait;
The "accident" that took your lives,
We're left to contemplate.

Your purposes completed
"Early" seems so true-
For life is long and grief is ours
Continuing without you,

Plans for future, plans for us-
All stopped the day you slept,
Two little souls now rest in Christ;
We know His Word's been kept.

We, wet and somber clay,
This world does not entice.
Our happiness does not grow here
And grief is shared with Christ.

Meeting you again my Loves,
A day I think of often,
The curse so great and cumbersome.
Reunion thoughts do soften.

You both eternal rest enjoy,
Willing, loving servants;
Our prayers no longer needed
But our love is just as fervent.

The saints you've met we cannot know
Being so completely earthbound;
Consigned humanity we live
Traverse on curs-ed ground.

Soon, I pray, reunion's song
We'll sing with heaven's tune,
We'll cry no more for loved ones missed,
Nor visit grassy tombs.

For just a twinkling will you wait-
Without the fear and dread?
For then together raptured up,
The living and the dead.

O Come, O come, Emmanuel
With angels' wings extended,
The joy, reunion, no more strain;
Heart-gripping pain is ended.

We'll shout for joy as heaven claps
Eternity begins-
With tears of joy unspeakable
As He cups our weary chins.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rob Bell's successor at Mars Hill on Hell

Rob Bells successor, Shane Hippel has written a piece on the subject of Hell. We don't have space to give you all he said. One statement which shows that he lacks a biblical theology is scary. He states, "I have never died, so I don’t have a theological position on heaven or hell. I can only entertain theological possibilities. There is a big difference."

My Answer
We are told in Jude 3, Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints, “The faith” here is the whole body of Scripture, the Old and New Testaments..

God's word is inerrant.
Faith is based on the inerrant word of God. You don't have to experience things to believe the Bible is true. The Bible was written over 1600 years by numerous authors who were all inspired by God.
2 Timothy 3:16, states,” All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” The Greek word for inspired is, Theopneustos, which translated means, “God breathed.”
The Bible is true on all subjects. It reveals God’s mind to us. And part of that revelation is the veracity of a literal eternal Hell.

Post Ascenion Statments by Jesus Christ about Hell

The doctrine of the eternality of Hell is clearly taught in Scripture. Mr. Hippel is in error when he says that the Lord Jesus Christ never talked with anyone about Hell after His resurrection. All you have to do is turn to the book of Revelation. Whose revelation is it? Look at verse one. “ The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show to His servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” This revelation is from Jesus Christ. It is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The term the wrath of God is throughout the Bible

The "wrath of God" is used in the book of Revelation, seven times. Romans 1:18, tells us “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth unrighteousness.” The wrath of God must be satisfied. We need the shed blood of Jesus Christ by which He paid for our redemption. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”


Eternality of hell and the lake of fire


What about Rev. 20:10? And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
We would expect that Rob Bell would have associates like Mr. Hippel.
Please go to our website for more Scriptures about Hell.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Escape of Hopes and Dreams




















Do you ever feel as though someone left the lid off of your “hopes and dreams” jar and they all escaped?
I do. Disappointments can come into our lives over and over again, until eventually we are demoralized. There are so many enemies to dash those expectations and steal the anticipation of good things to come. Yesterday as I walked (rather aimlessly, I admit) through a department store, I felt robbed. I saw this jar and felt God had left me at the curb; I have been waiting for a ride that never comes, alone and very disappointed. We have followed The Christ since Steve and I were teenagers. We have been shameless idealists as we leaned into Him and put all the eggs in that one basket; that one that we presented to Him. We have had devastating bouts with mental illness in our family, death of our daughter, now foreclosure of our home. Where did my dreams go? Where is the hope? How did they escape the jar? Can they be retrieved? Each day we live is clear evidence that God is not finished with us. Maybe He is making us an example of perseverance or maybe we are just unlucky.
NO!
I do not believe that for a minute. God is a God of purpose and certainty. He is not aloof, arbitrary, or busy. He is totally faithful, totally involved and all powerful and wise. We do not live a life of positive thinking or lame anticipation. We live for God and the outcome, the results the onus is on Him. He has broad shoulders and there is purpose in our suffering. The Psalmist said, “The LORD is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.” (145:13) Whether or not I feel my hopes and dreams have escaped, nothing has changed. He is the God of the weak and sad; He is the Hope of the hopeless and when man says, “Now, let’s see what becomes of his dreams,” God is working all things according to His purposes and revealing the fulfilled dreams of His children. Put the cork back in the jar and dare to dream again. God is at the helm and He is full of surprises. Don’t give up-your jar is not empty after all.
This article was written by guest blogger, Robyn Bloem

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Christian at death doesn't pass away, he passes to something.














There are two important principles when it comes to grief and the Christian.
The first principle is, when faced with death, the born again believer has sure hope, because the Captain of his salvation has conquered the greatest enemy—death. In fact, the Bible proclaims that the death of saints is precious in the sight of the LORD, (Psalm 116:15).
When he dies, a born again believer immediately sees Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:1-9). All sorrows are forgotten. There is no pain or grief in Heaven. There is no more curse or sin. The saved one at death is reunited with saved loved ones who have died in the Lord before them. These things are sure because of the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), (1 Corinthians 15:12-26).
The second principle is that Christians, as humans, experience the overwhelming sorrow of grief, but not as others who have no hope, (1 Corinthians 4:13). Christians can be guilty of playing down the human nature of Christ and also of “sanitizing” the death of a believer. Those left behind can be in agony. Their humanity must be validated. Their hope of reunion must be proclaimed and made clear. A funeral of a Christian is a celebration of his life, and also a mourning of his death. The Christian believer is not immune to grief but participates in the mourning process; I Samuel 30:3, 4; John 11:33-35; Acts 8:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
Please pray about a new book we are writing based on the death of our daughter, Lindsay and granddaughter Emily Hope on September 11, 2001.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writtten in 1990 after finding out Lindsay had separation anxiety















(c)2011-Steve Bloem

In some ways, there is something worse than our own depression. It is our children having it. I have spoken in the past of our son, Brant, and his severe panic and depression.
Having to watch him go through all the pain that is involved in this disease proves to be a severe trial for Robyn and me.
He was not the first of our children to have a depression/panic disorder. Our daughter Lindsay who has been in heaven for about ten years after being killed by a drugged driver (along with her daughter, Emily Hope), was diagnosed with separation anxiety and depression when she was in the fourth grade.
I do not consider myself to be a hymn writer but I did write what is below after I realized that she had tasted and would taste the bitter cup of depression and also panic disorder. The "hymn" is entitled,Count it all Joy.


Faced once again with heartache and sorrow;
Once again praying, "Not my will but Yours;"
Finding today's strength and more for tomorrow
Submitting to your way to take care of hers.

You are our Father of Mercy to children;
Suffering is not wasted when suffering for Thee.
We count it all joy when the waves overtake us,
Praying in us that His image is seen.

The cup of sorrow from the Father is given
I will drink it again, as I have before;
It has never proved harmful- nor ever will be;
Then one day in heaven, I will suffer no more.

Our great God is for us, No foe can subdue
No harm present or future His love won't see through
He spared not His own Son, He smote Him for all
Christ Jesus, our High Priest; on Him we will call.

Thursday, October 6, 2011



















I have researched the websites of many churches and have found it a rare occurrence to unearth a mental illness support group. Churches have grief share, divorce recovery, celebrate recovery, and many other support groups.
Many church leaders are like the proverbial ostrich with his head in the ground. It is almost a don't ask, don't tell, situation

Robyn and I have started a support group at our own church, Rockford Baptist Church in Rockford Michigan. The support group is part of a grass roots movement which we call CAMI (Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness). We have written our own study guide material.
If only pastors knew how many of their sheep feel alone and misunderstood by their church. These storm tossed afflicted persons are very important to God, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit, Psalm 34:18.

Mental illness is a whole body disease and it has a devastating effect to those who suffer from it. The vegetative functionings of the body fail in major depression. They are sleep, appetite, and sex drive. The will is broken. The depressed person finds it very difficult to accomplish even little tasks. A depressed person's concentration makes it difficult for him to read. His memory is affected. God seems a million miles away.

The devil like a roaring lion seeks to isolate depressed people from God and church and make them think God has abandoned them. Then he presents suicide as a viable option to escape from the horrific psychic pain. The church of Jesus Christ should not neglect this people group. She will have to answer to her Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ for her treatment or non-treatment of the mentally ill.

Robyn and I have written a starter/study guide for launching this CAMI program in your church. We have a seminar which introduces the material and then goes on to explain every part of it. If members of the church attend the seminar then we will provide consultation for your church leaders, we will instruct them on how to start a CAMI group, and how to maintain it. Our group format includes eight guiding principles for Christians who suffer from a mental illness and/or their caregivers. We have a Leader’s Manual which spells out treatment goals for every lesson.

In the Leader's manual we have provided the answers to the discussion questions which are in the student guide. The Guides help the sufferer think through various issues and to see them in the context of suffering as a Christian. It has also been reported to be helpful for the caregivers who come to the groups. This is a very important concept for today’s Christian with mental health issues. Mental Illness begs for understanding, community and compassion. Are you with us?

http://heartfeltcounselingministries.com/whispersinfoyer.aspx

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Merciful God, Does He fail us in suffering?



Lindsay Bloem Hoover


Bereavement
Do you have to forgive God? Many counselors would say, yes but Scipture says no. It is impossible to forgive Him because he never has or will commit sin. Here is my testimony; In the middle of my great sorrow (Our daughter Lindsay had died along with her baby Emily about nine months before this); God met me in the most wonderful way. The story is taken from my journal.

My journal -
July 3, 2002

Anger, - Tension in the house was everywhere. I was angry.
I felt like an animal in a trap. I was angry at Lindsay for not heeding the warnings of God. I was angry at that my only precious girl was gone. I was angry at the murderer of Lindsay. I was angry at society for not punishing perpetrators who drink, drug and drive.

Prayer
Everyone except Robyn decided to disperse. Tyler, being the youngest, went with me. I was praying and confessing sins while walking around the neighborhood. I was asking God for wisdom.

God came to me
I don't mean in a vision; I mean in the providential ordering of my finding a beautiful tract in a not so beautiful place.
Tyler and I walked by a little factory. The grass was long and the grounds were not managed. There was a small colorful looking paper which was on the grass. It was a tract. The title was Ten Reasons to Believe in a God Who Allows Suffering
It was written by someone at Radio Bible Class. I could tell that whoever wrote it had suffered deeply. I read the whole tract. I read the tract to my youngest son Tyler. God gave us strength that day, God met my deepest need for comfort, and He condescended to my lonely, tired heart and gave me peace.

The Merciful God of the Bible

Psalm 18:2-The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge ; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold
II. Corinthians 1:8-11-- For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively , beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life ; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead ; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
Steve Bloem
Heartfelt Ministries

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lindsay and Emily, Two more on 9/11

Please open the attached video that was recorded on September 11, 2011. It tells the story of our daughter, Lindsay Ruth Bloem Hoover and our grand daughter, Emily Hope.
Lindsay was eight months pregnant with her little daughter, Emily Hope when she decided to attend a special prayer meeting that was called by our pastor on September 11, 2001.
When we hear of the horrible death toll on that day of terror, we always feel there were two more deaths that resulted from September 11. Lindsay was a first responder in the sense that she was a prayer warrior/hero that night. As a Christian, she wanted to pray for our nation. On her way home from prayer, she was hit and killed along with Emily Hope by a man who was on cocaine, heroin and marijuana and had been partying with two of his friends all day long.
The Walker(Michigan)Police discovered heroin with open syringes indicating their use of the drugs even as they drove down the street that fateful day.
The two passengers and the driver were all passed out in the moving vehicle. The two in the back seat were never charged but the driver has been in prison for nine years.
Please watch the memorial we organized on the tenth anniversary of their heavenly departure. Lindsay and Emily were whisked from the accident scene by the angels of God to their home in Heaven. Life is like a vapor. Would you be ushered into eternal bliss or eternal punishment if you were to die today?
You may have to copy and paste the link into your web browser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFtc5mU1h08&feature=share

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From the Voice of Martyrs web site; "I am a Christian. I am dying today."




















From the Voice of Martyrs web site; "I am a Christian. I am dying today."

Monica Dra and her husband heard the marchers outside their small home in Nigeria on July 26, 2009. They heard the chants of "Allahu Akbar" and wondered what the night would hold for them and other Christians in their village.

"We had heard rumors all night that there were going to be problems," Monica told VOM, "and now I could hear them walking and slaughtering people as they went." Monica's husband, Daniel James, grabbed her, and they ran outside to escape the radical Muslim mob. But the radicals grabbed Daniel and hacked him to death with a machete.

Monica began to run, with her Bible and hymn book tucked under her arm. But members of the chanting mob grabbed her and began striking her with machetes. Seeing a cross on a chain around Monica's neck, a militant began to chop at her neck, nearly decapitating her. By the time Monica got to the hospital, she could only breathe through the gaping wound left by the lethal blade.

"I thought, 'I am a Christian,'" she said. "I am dying today."

But Monica didn't die. After six surgeries to repair her throat and close the wound in her neck, doctors were able to save her voice. Through VOM Medical, Monica, a poor widow with a 5-year-old child, received excellent medical care and post-op follow-up. Thanks to generous donations from VOM supporters, Monica is among the more than 600 Christians who have received medical care after being injured because of their Christian faith.

Monica now needs only one more surgery to regain her normal speaking voice. "Now that I have my strength back, I have forgiven my attackers," Monica said. "Now I have more courage to serve the Lord much more."

We don't know where the next attack will occur. Nigeria? Indonesia? China? But VOM Medical is committed to serving those who are injured by persecution.

THANK YOU for helping Monica Dra and other Christians who have been injured in anti-Christian attacks around the world. With your help, VOM was able to provide six surgeries for Monica, a Christian widow with a 5-year-old son. We will soon be providing one more surgery, which should restore her normal speaking voice.










Friday, August 26, 2011

Whispers in the Foyer, An Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Ilness














Steve and Robyn will be conducting a one-day seminar, Whispers in the Foyer...an Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness  It will be Saturday, October 15, 2016 and is hosted by Boca Glades Baptist Church.  Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the seminar will end at 4:00 p.m. WITF is a prerequisite for becoming a CAMI (Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness) group leader. The cost is $60.00 per person; $90.00 for couples and includes a set of seminar notes for each atendee.
Please scroll to the bottom of this page to be directed to register online.

  Review written by: Pastor and Licensed Therapist, Nathan Wagner  

Whispers in the Foyer is a much needed fresh voice to a controversial dialogue 
Steve and Robyn Bloem have literally “written the book” on how to survive and thrive in the midst of the chaos of mental illness. Their honesty, candor, authenticity, and thoroughness of thought offer us a unique perspective at a critical time for the church in the U.S. Rather than hiding or running from their own struggles with Steve’s mental illness; they have faced them head on with incredible courage and a profound faith. Their book Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It and now this resulting workshop seem to flow from a deep resolve to help shift the old paradigms that so many of us in evangelical circles are still working from when it comes to the issue of mental illness.  

An Honest Approach to Understanding Mental Illness 
With rare candid honesty Steve and Robyn presented a detailed description of mental illness itself, a Biblical lens through which to engage it, and an inspirational story of struggle and triumph. Woven through Steve’s presentation on several types of mental illness and a solid Biblical discussion on its validity and implications, Robyn shared a story of intense struggle as they battled Steve’s depression early on in their marriage, the loss of their daughter and unborn grandchild to a tragic car accident, and ongoing journey as they continue to navigate the chaos and uncertainty defining mental illness. 

As a pastor and counselor, I believe Whispers in the Foyer offers a refreshingly open appeal to rethink our intolerant and ignorant views on this issue. It also helps frame the dialogue in a more accessible way for so many of us in churches who want to help but are paralyzed by misunderstandings and fear. I want to thank the Bloems for their investment in writing an incredibly helpful and encouraging book, for crafting a workshop to open eyes and hearts to God’s perspective and heart for those impacted by this kind of brokenness, and for sharing their inspirational story of tragedy, despair, and ultimately hope. I believe many will be blessed, instructed, and encouraged because of their ongoing investment of time and energy by the profound faith they’ve displayed for so many years, as well as the celebration of God’s goodness in the midst of such a difficult journey. 
Review written by: Pastor and Licensed Therapist Nathan Wagner.
 If you wish to pay online, please go to  http://heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html
 
Rev. Steve and Robyn Bloem

  Prices: As stated above the cost is $60.00 per person. Group and student rates are also available. If you cannot afford payment, there are some scholarship funds available. We will also accept a personal check made payable to Heartfelt Counseling Ministries and sent to 4371 Northlake Blvd. Suite 256 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Suicide, My Sister Cyndi and Matthew Warren, number two in a series

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
From vain regrets down this is a 2010 re post.
Because of stigma, most obituaries do not mention the word suicide. It seems to me the most common label used in obituaries is "died unexpectedly," or “died suddenly" A very sad report came out of the Saddleback Church in the last couple of weeks. Rick Warren is the well-known pastor of this mega church in California. His son, Matthew, committed suicide Friday.

Because of Pastor Warren's fame (much of it has come after he wrote (A Purpose Driven Life), a window has been opened that creates an opportunity for a national discussion about suicide.
Suicide is responsible for 49.1% of violent deaths worldwide. This is much more than both homicides and war related deaths. It is a global problem.

My sister Cyndi had read our book that my wife Robyn and I wrote. It is called Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. The largest chapter in our book deals with suicide. She ordered about 20 copies to give away. She was proud of us for getting my depression out in the open. Cindy had bi-polar disorder and for years my wife Robyn and I (and our kids) tried to snatch her from the dark clutches of mental illness. She lived in Florida and we lived in Michigan.

Vain regrets
I am a pastor and a mental health clinician but she hid her dark thoughts from me. Cyndi visited my parents in Michigan a month before she shot herself and we spent time with her. While she was with my parents and us, she put her fingers up to her head in the shape of a gun and pulled the trigger.
I asked her not to do that but did not probe further. I wish I had done so. Survior's guilt is a common thing when someone is close to you commits suicide.
Two days before the act I had called her and talked to her about some problems that she was having with her children. She made a veiled comment about "taking less responsibility" in regards to her children. I mentioned it to my Mother, but neither she or I thought it warranted a response. I regret this. Some people have wondered why I could not stop her. I don't have the answer to that question.
But the real culprit is the disease. Fifteen percent of those who have major depression successfully end their own lives. The best answer to suicide is early detection and, crisis intervention. The church of Jesus Christ must talk more about the subject of suicide.

The Perfect Storm
A suicide is like a perfect storm. Cyndi used hollow point bullets and had checked the Internet about how to commit suicide without maiming herself. There are many web sites today, that press others in the chat room to end their lives. Stresses in the environment, alcohol and drug abuse as well as the biology of mental illness all intersect to set the stage for suicide.

I have had depression for over twenty five years. Suicide is a great temptation for me when I am in an episode of depression. It is because I want to move away from the horrible brain storm that is in my head. Robyn and I are dedicated to help those who are in the throes of mental illness. I encourage you to get our book and read it. http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187.  The largest chapter is on suicide. 
If you would like to learn more about our book, including the table of contents and actual content of the book, please go to:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Broken_Minds.html?id=HQAzGHfmdJUC

Monday, August 15, 2011

God's purposes in letting us have mental illness

Mental illness is the same as any other disease. The contracting of this mental disease is part of God's providence. It is not happen-stance.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with major depression. I was deeply depressed, obsessed and having panic attacks. I began to question why I had to become mentally ill. My father-in-law said to me, son, you have to play the hand that’s been dealt to you. After this, I began to realize that though I was so very disappointed about losing the pastorate, because of my depression; I knew that God had ordered my steps. I also later read what George Muller said, “Not only the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, but also the stops are His doing.”

You may have to cut this address and put it in your web browser. http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pray for one another

One of the reasons why I chose to have a blog was so there could be profitable fellowship between true Christians especially in regards to their mental illness. Prayer is a very important means to bring about mutual encouragement and comfort to those who suffer from such a devastating disease.
The Bible tells us, in James 5:16b, " The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (NIV).
If you have a prayer request, I promise that I will pray for you or someone else(please don't list names but use initials). If you want to use your own name, go right ahead. If you join the blog then you can put your request in the comments section.

I guess I should start. Pray that Robyn and I will be able to present our seminars in churches. Pray for out son Brant that he would get on the right medications for his awful depression. If you don't feel comfortable giving a request by putting it on my blog then email me, camimovement@yahoo.com

If you can't figure out how to join this blog, then please email me with your prayer request.

Thanks, Steve Bloem

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bilogical Depression, the horror described

Please note the following is a quote from Timothy Rogers,from his book, Trouble of the Mind and the Disease of Melancholy, . It was first published in 1691 and reprinted by Sol Deo Gloria Publications in 2004. Charles Spurgeon refers to the book in his Lectures to my Students.
I do not stand by all the content in the book. For example, Rogers felt many times he was under God's wrath. Scripture tell us that Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God in His Person on the Cross for our sins. We are saved from God's wrath through Justification by faith,Romans, 5:1-2.

Furthermore, in my opinion; Pederson in the preface infers that Rogers had a full recovery from his depression. I believe this is historically incorrect.
But as far as hearing what depression is like it is Rogers, forte. He gives graphic descriptions on what it felt like to be depressed.

Here is one quote, "melancholy ceases on the brain and spirits, and incapacitates for thought or action; it confounds and disturbs all their thoughts and unavoidably fills them with anguish and vexation, of which there is no resemblance in any other distemper(disease), unless it is that of a raging fever. I take it for granted, and I verily believe, that I say nothing but what is true. When this ugly humor, (a humour was basic to Elizabethan Medicine -- it had to do with temperaments and blood types from which a disease arises), is deeply fixed and has spread its malignant influence over every part, it is as vain a thing to strive against it as to strive against a fever, a pleurisy, the gout, or the gallstone, which are very grievous to nature, but which a man, by resolution and the force of briskness and courage, cannot help. One would be glad to be rid of such oppressing things, but all our striving will not make them go away," Preface page 24.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Life Fair?

Person of the Month

When Life Isn't Fair
A Conversation with Robyn Bloem by Nancy Lovell of T.D. Jakes Ministry

"People who haven't suffered are missing an important dimension of their lives, I believe."
—Robyn Bloem

In 1984, when mental illness and Christianity weren't supposed to mix, Robyn Bloem and her husband were slammed head on with the disease that won't go away with the right verses or a better quiet time. Steve Bloem was freshly ordained for ministry and narrowing the candidates to his first church when "flu-like" symptoms graduated into full-blown depression and eventually bi-polar disease. That's only part of what the Bloem's tell about in "Broken Minds: A Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It," a dense blend of personal candor, Christian realism, and professional insight into the problems of mental illness—often aggravated by well-meaning Christians who misunderstand. Twenty-two years down the road, they also head Heartfelt Counseling Ministries a non-profit ministry to the mentally ill and their families.

Here TDJakes.com talks all too briefly to Robyn Bloem about unfair blows and why she still believes in a just God.

Robyn, tell us briefly—and I know that's not fair—about Steve's mental illness.
In 1985 while doing his candidating trail, Steve became terribly depressed and for four months we did nothing except try to keep going. I sent him for walks to have his devotions and he'd come back worse. Nothing seemed to work. We came down to the last church we were candidating in before the Sunday they were to vote him in, and he had to tell them he couldn't do it. I had a five year old, a three year old, and a four month old. I looked at the three kids and a father crying, not sleeping, wringing his hands and pacing endlessly and I could only picture the old black-and-white movies of the state hospitals. I was 29 and thought my life was over. And his too. We ended up living with my sister and his brother who are married. Little by little we started to understand that mental illness is a physical illness. And that was 22 years ago.

Who was your husband in those 22 years?
People say to me, "I can't imagine living with a husband who struggles with depression for 22 years." I say he's not gloomy and negative. He's perfectly fine. He's a good husband and a wonderful father all the time except when he's in a depressive episode. And it can last up until three months until we get the medication straight and he's back on track. It's always scary—for him and for me. It's something that overtakes him. He doesn't get a little down, he gets hand-wringing, pacing depressed; he can't even drive a car. But when he's not, he's capable of anything.

As you learned to manage Steve's illness, you put up with a lot of misconceptions in the church—the very place you should be able to expect understanding.



We decided we would try to break the stigma. We openly shared my our mental illnesses. In fact we do a seminar called "Whispers in the Foyer: An Honest Look at Christians and Mental Illness." But the moment we shared that mental illness is a physical illness and what we'd learned, within a week or two the pastor would be back to yelling at people who were depressed and accusing them of being self-centered. But we just kept plugging until Steve and I got the opportunity to write a book, writing from both of our perspectives. It was very cathartic to write about the church and mental illness, the stigma, the misunderstandings, what the bible says, and what people suffering with mental illness need both professionally and personally.

I like that you have so much information into your book. You've learned a lot.
That's thanks to Steve's training. When he first got depressed and a couple of churches said, "We don't want a pastor with a case of the nerves," he applied to do social work. He said at the time that his major was religion and his minor was Greek. They told him he was educated for social work. So he earned his Master of Ministry degree, another degree in social work, and changed his life vocation into becoming a counselor. We've pastored since then, but most of the time he's been in counseling or ministry like now.
I wish that were the only story about unfairness in your life. Will you talk about some of the other events?
For more about the subject of the question, Is Life Fair, when your daughter and granddaughter die, please go to this link,


http://heartfeltcounselingministries.com/islifefairrobyn.aspx and scroll down to pick up the story.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fathers tortued for Christ

Some have asked me, "Why do you have helping the persecuted church in your purpose statement?" It is because the persecuted church is composed of born again believers whose suffering is most horrible, indeed.
Many of them spend their lives going in and out of prison because of their faith. They are like those spoken of in Hebrews;

Women received back their dead by resurrection ; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword ; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated; men of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:35-38).

The Persecuted Church page on our website is one of the most frequented. It, as do those with mental illness and bereavement, suffer greatl of body, mind and mood. We are commanded in Scripture, Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
This is found in Hebrews 13:3.


Pastor T, a Mennonite from Ho Chi Minh City, was arrested on June 26, then beaten and taken to an unknown location. Nu, Pastor T’s wife, said her husband left home around 10 p.m. and phoned 15 minutes later to say he was being held at Ward 26 of Binh Thanh District Police Station. Nu and other church members went to the heavily guarded police station, but authorities denied having Pastor T in custody. Nu called out to her husband from a back door, and he responded, “I’m here. They have brutally beaten me. My jaw and hand are broken, and they have shackled my legs and hands. I’m very tired and am in pain.” Nu pleaded with police to let her see her husband, but they refused. Later, she saw him being taken by car to another location. Pastor T’s condition and location are unknown, and his house has been raided. Please pray for Pastor T’s health, and pray that God will strengthen and comfort him and his wife.
Please pray for these Christians. For more information about people who are being persecuted go to: http://heartfeltcounselingministries.com/persecution.aspx

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CAMI - Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness

Many of you have expressed to Robyn and to me the isolation and loneliness you feel while trying to cope with your “brain storms.” In many places the evangelical church does little to shed light on depression, bipolar disorder, etc. and in other places it actually belittles and mocks those who are mentally ill. Heartfelt Counseling Ministries has an answer to this lack of community and offers solidarity.

It is called CAMI, which stands for Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness. It is for those of us who are true believers in Christ and have a burden for the afflicted or are afflicted ourselves with a mental illness. We have copyrighted the name but it needs explanation.

CAMI Purpose Statement-- - CAMI exists to strengthen those who are spiritually, psychologically and physically impacted by mental illness. We will create a sense of cohesion and community among born again Christians who are affected by depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, panic and other disorders of mind and mood.

What is CAMI?

God led Robyn and me to start Heartfelt Counseling Ministries in 2003. Since then our book, Broken Minds was published (Kregel, 2005) and through that medium, we have met and spoken to many Christians who are sensing the need for a Christian community to aid and support them as they deal with their own broken minds. We conduct seminars, provide counseling, advocate and educate for the evangelical, biblical and clinical treatment of persons suffering from mental illness. We offer a safe environment, a listening ear and practical help for treatment all the while offering the hope of Christ. There should be no shame or embarrassment; these illnesses are the result of faulty brain chemistry and those who suffer from them are not weak people! We have extended a new helping hand to the global community to aid in our passion for the mentally afflicted Christian. It is a concept and movement called CAMI.

Why Does CAMI Exist?

1. Because Secular alliances of mentally ill people, though they do some good, cannot meet the spiritual needs of Christians who have mental illness, nor minister to their caregivers.

2. CAMI provides a visible, tangible fellowship in local settings; and also makes
possible real interaction in real time in this global village, our world.

3. CAMI provides substantial help and support in training others to start
and conduct CAMI mental illness support groups and evangelistic outreach groups.

4. CAMI will help mentally ill Christians who are often misunderstood to stand tall for Christ and work together in stomping out the stigma that surrounds this type of illness.

What will CAMI look like?

 CAMI will be embraced by local evangelical churches in both national and international settings.

 CAMI will have regional speaking engagements and have an annual conference including speakers and workshop leaders. This includes fund raisers. CAMI will train pastors and lay leaders to start and carry on mercy ministries which will include ministering effectively to the mentally ill population in their churches.

 CAMI will have a substantial ministry of prayer for those who are having problems, needs and concerns with their own symptoms of mental ilness. We will also pray for others who consent to have their prayer requests made known. There will be means of stimulating and faciliting these very important prayer requests. These will include prayer chains by phone, email,facebook, skype, twitter or by postal mail. The level of saturation by prayer will be determined by the parties involved.These prayer requests will be prayed for in an international setting.

 CAMI has eight guiding principles which are found in the CAMI Starter/Leader and Study Guides. They can be emailed to you or sent by postal mail.
Are you interested in starting a local chapter of a CAMI support group?
E-mail us at camimovement@yahoo.com. You can also call us at 616-447-9064

What Should You Do Now?
You should become a member of CAMI. You do not have to be mentally ill to do so.
Pastors, lay leaders and caregivers are also encouraged to become members.
http://heartfeltcounselingministries.com/whispersinfoyer.aspx