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 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
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.  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:

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.

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,

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.