Saturday, August 31, 2013

Study links schizophrenia symptoms to faulty 'switch' in brain


Schizophrenia is a horrible disease.  When I was first depressed a psychiatrist said to me, "You should consider yourself fortunate that you don't have schizophrenia."

 I had no idea what he was talking about.  And I felt he did not really understand the deep and pervasive pain of depression.
This was n 1985.  But since then I have worked in urban settings with many persons who had schizophrenia.  Most of them are not violent  and many of them are homeless and it is hard  to get them to treatment centers. One of the greatest mistakes we make as a society is to neglect them.  Many churches that are not in urban areas don't have a clue what schizoprhenia is and how to help those who have it.

Below is a link to an article which talks about  new research on the subject of Schizophrenia
Please pray with me that people in evangelical churches will reach out to to those who can do very little to "pay them back."

I believe Matthew 25 which will occur at the judgement of the Gentile nations has application to those who are suffering from mental illness. Most people who have Schizophrenia are dirt poor. As I said, they are in urban areas and get easily pushed around by those who want to get them out of their "turf."

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat ; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink ; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'  "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?"  The King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me," Matthew 25:25-40.
(Reuters) - The delusions and other psychotic symptoms experienced by people with schizophrenia may be caused by a faulty brain "switch" that blurs their ability to distinguish inner thoughts from objective reality, scientists said on Wednesday. For more please go to:

Please look at reviews for our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You're Losing It.

CAMI (Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness) and CAMI Online are a division of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries. All rights reserved. 2013
CAMI which stands for, Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness involves talking to others via a lap top computer that has a camera and microphone. It is no different than any other CAMI group except you can do it while in your own home. We have five to six people who go on their computer on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m.- 8:45 p.m. EST. . I am a member of this group. We use CAMI support group material that I have written. I can send you a copy of the material. It sells for six dollars. Please let me know if and when you want to start. The group is anywhere from an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. I am refreshed by hearing from others in the group and by the biblical discussion. We also talk about mental health issues.
We are willing to open new groups if the group above is not suitable.
Time Zones can be a problem but not impossible. If you are interested,
you can respond to our blog or go to!contact/cito
If you would like more information on how to start a ministry to those with schizophrenia,
Heartfelt can help.  Please go to our web site contact which is above.
Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.
Heartfelt (Counseling Ministries)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Seminars that Steve and Robyn offer.

 Whispers in the Foyer, an Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness.

Heartfelt (Counseling) Ministries), Here are some of the seminars that we conduct.   "Whispers in the Foyer an Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness' It has helped many people and enabled them to stand stronger for Christ in the face of mental illness. We offer church group rates as well as discounts for college classes.
Is your church ready for one of our seminars? We will go anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, if you have ten people that will come to the seminar. You would need to pay the airfare for two people. To read more about this seminar, go to

Why is Daddy Crying?

My wife, Robyn, and I founded Heartfelt Ministries after our daughter Lindsay Ruth, who was eight months pregnant with our first grandchild, was hit head-on by a man on heroin, cocaine and cannabis. She and her child were both killed instantly. This accident occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. Robyn and I and two of our children were behind her returning from a prayer vigil for our nation and the families affected by the terrorist attacks.

In this seminar, Robyn and I share our story of what we have learned from the death of our daughter Lindsay Ruth.  We are Christians and have decided to write a book about God's ministry to us in our deep sorrow. We feel a certain responsibility to share our story of grace with others who are grieving. 

 We talk about suffering and glory themes in the Bible, the recovery process and the difference between grief and mental illness. 

Time- Anywhere from an hour to three hours.
We are missionaries to a mentally ill people group as well as those who are in grief. A Scriptural basis for our ministry is 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.
Recommendations/references: Sn Lantana, FL

 Marriage Recovery
How to keep the honey in the honeymoon?
This seminar is a tested one that is written especially for substance abuse addicts and their spouses. This seminar talks about the biblical roles of husbands and wives, while at the same time tailoring the material to the dysfunctional system that exists because of substance abuse in the home. It deals with biblical literature that has marriage and family as its subject. Scriptures from Ephesians, Proverbs and Song of Solomon are some of the passages which are foundational to marriage.
A special section is dual diagnosis and they way if affects a family.
Time: Normally it is a one day seminar of about six hours. This includes many opportunities for interaction, questions
and breaks. This can be expanded or shortened in length per your needs or preferences.
Our board has established a recommended donation of $40.00 per person.

Whispers in the Foyer an Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness.

Please also go to:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Schizophrenia, It could happen to you or to your child, repost from 09/12


I was an associate director of mental health for a urban ministry in Grand Rapids, MI.
Some of the most difficult clients were the ones who suffered from schizophrenia. There are many misconceptions about schizophrenia. One which has continued to be promoted for years is that schizophrenia is a spilt personality syndrome. This is not true at all.  It is a complex mental illness and one of the most difficult to treat.

I had the privilege to go with founder and director, Don Tack of Servant's Center (he was my Bible teacher at the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music),  out under bridges and various places away those with serious mental illnesses congregate. It is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. One such place was known as the Village of the Damned.    Its location was in the woods which provided plenty of fire wood for those who needed  to keep warm. Michigan winters can get down to twenty degrees below zero (Fahrenheit)   Those who gathered and lived there were some of the most severe cases,  of schizophrenia which I had ever seen. These people won't come into the city of  for housing our treatment. Our job was to go out and befriend them and help them in any way we could. We tried to forge a bond with them and then bring them to a Community Mental Health Center which would offer them psychiatric treatment. We were able to get more than a few help but it took along time.

The United States had a not to difficult task in getting  them out of the state hospitals but we have had a terrible time of getting them into treatment and find housing etc. I would ask those who don't believe that mental illness is a biological disease   to talk to a person who has schizophrenia, who is floridly psychotic, having loss touch with reality. These poor people were deinstitutionalized in the late 1950's and 1960's (in the United States) but they have few places to go. I know for a fact that in Michigan the state prison officials would drop off the mentally ill on the county line rather than actively provide linkage to mental health services.
Many of our readers are from other countries all over the world. Please feel free to comment below and tell us what your country does or doesn't do with schizophrenics. . Please pray for those who have this dreaded disease and pray for their families.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia? The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three broad categories:
1. Positive symptoms are unusual thoughts or perceptions, including hallucinations , delusions, , and disorders of movement. An example of a delusion is depicted in the above picture one that people are stalking you.

2. Negative symptoms represent a loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion, or find pleasure in everyday life. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for laziness or depression.

3. Cognitive symptoms (or cognitive deficits) are problems with attention, certain types of memory, and the executive functions that allow us to plan and organize.
Cognitive deficits can also be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder but are the most disabling in terms of leading a normal life.

For more on line go to:

For more about Robyn's and Steve's book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, Kregel Publication.

Monday, August 12, 2013

VOM-USA Prayer Update for August 9, 2013
On Thu. Aug 08 2013 at 03:13 PM Moderator wrote: Egypt--Widespread Attacks on Christians Continue
Source: VOM SourcesRevelations 2:10-11

Persecution in Egypt continues to increase at an alarming

rate. Churches, stores owned by Christians and Christians'
 homes were attacked in three villages in Menia city on
Aug. 4, a VOM worker reports. In the city of Sohag, radical
 Muslims attacked another church and put the flag
of al-Qaida on the building. Earlier in July, two
Christians were killed in northern areas of the Sinai
Peninsula. On July 18, two churches in Matai and Kom
Hamada were attacked during a funeral procession for
two Muslim Brotherhood members. Smaller churches
in Arish have closed, and only one church is holding
a weekly service for those who remain. In the Luxor p
rovince, the newly appointed head of police is s
uspected of intentionally failing to respond to an
incident on July 5 in which four Christians were killed.[/quote]

Azerbaijan--Pastor's Wife Passes Away
Source: VOM Sources
Psalm 71:21

Pastor Zaur, who leads a small Baptist church in Aliabad, 

lost his wife, Nunuka, on July 21 after a long battle with
pancreatic cancer. Zaur Blaev and his congregation have
been continually harassed by the local imam and
authorities. In 2007, Pastor Zaur was arrested
during a raid on a worship service in his home, 
and he spent nearly a year in a prison camp before
 being released. More recently, while Zaur was in
Russia seeking treatment for his wife, his church
was again raided and issued a large fine. Nunuka
continued to struggle through surgeries and
treatment, but on Sunday morning, July 21, 
she told Zaur, "I'm going to heaven, to be near God, 
so you don't need to worry about me. Please
continue to serve God." Please pray that God will
 continue to comfort and sustain Pastor Zaur.[/quote]

North Korea--Balloon Launches Help Spread the Gospel
Source: Seoul USA, VOM Sources
Isaiah 55:10-11

A VOM worker reports record launches of New Testaments

into North Korea in July. For the month of July alone, 
23,130 New Testaments were launched into North Korea.
 Through multiple launch points, workers are able to
drop materials on areas that are largely unreached
 by the gospel. A chief of Security Vision informed
VOM partners of a North Korean website threatening
 organizations that launch balloons. The VOM partners
 were asked to refrain from launching balloons, but
 they were able to launch again on July 11, releasing
 2,000 New Testaments. On July 31, they launched
 a record 7,500 New Testaments, the largest number
 launched in 2013. Continue to pray for favorable
 launch conditions, and pray that these Scriptures
will fall into the right hands in North Korea.[/quote]

Please remember those who are in prison because of their faith
and yet cannot take medication that will help them be safe
in body and mind.
For more on our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like
You're Losing It.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Four Lessons on God and Promotion - Is it who you know?


Copy right, all rights reserved, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Cross Church

For promotion does not come from the east, north, or south; but God is the judge. He puts down one and sets up another. Psalm 75:6-7
Today, I want to share with you some lessons I have learned and am still learning from God as found in Psalm 75:6-7. These lessons are not only for pastors, but for all Christians.
  1. Get to know God and let Him promote you if He chooses to do so. When you knock on the Lord’s door in prayer consistently, He will open the doors He wants you to walk through in your life.
  2. God uses people, but God alone determines your future. The Lord moves His gospel and His people on the tracks of a relationship. Therefore, relationships are very important to your future. Yet, with a convincing conviction, I know fully: God alone determines your future! He knows your end from the beginning!
  3. Leadership is temporary and you are a steward over it. The Word declares in Psalm 75:6-7 that God puts down one man and sets up another. Yes, He puts them down, lays them aside; not as waste or clutter, but because He has something else for the man himself and for whomever He is leading. Therefore, for this season, you may have leadership, but it is temporary. While you have it, steward it well and unto the Lord.
  4. God raises people up to do a specific task for a specific time. As God sets one person aside from a task, He raises up another for a season of time. Yes, He raises a person up to do a specific task for a specific time. Task and time go together. When these are married, BOOM! Oh yes, God may want you to do a specific task, and you are yearning and believing He does. Yet, at this time, He has not allowed you to do it. What could this mean? Timing is critical. Be patient. In His time, He will bring the task. If He desires it, no one can keep you from it. Then, there are times in life you may hit a sobering moment, realizing that God may not raise you up to do what you felt all along He would. Why does this happen? I cannot say. But I do know that He knows what is best for you. I have said this over and over again and believe it firmly: God knows what is best for me when I don’t know what is best for myself.
A Testimony to Share
In December 1980, I faced a massive challenge to these words. I had just graduated with my Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary. I was going in view of a call to a church in a fast-growing region in Texas. I was thrilled and fired up. The Sunday went splendid. In this little mission church, people were all over the altar getting saved, and joining the church.
When the Chairman called me a week later, I was ready to go. When his voice spoke words like these, I was devastated. “Ronnie, unknowing to me, our by-laws call for the Pastor to receive 95% of the vote. When the church voted this morning, you fell just short.” I was wrecked. I was devastated. Depressed. Completely hopeless.
How did I survive? The Holy Spirit awakened my heart and reminded me of Psalm 75:6-7. These words were the words and promise that got me through that moment of devastation.
Yes, God is so good, He knows what is best for us when we do not know what is best for ourselves. Within months, the Lord called me to another church, which He really used to launch me into a life and ministry far beyond what I could have ever dreamed.
Pastor, Jesus knows your email address and even your mobile number. Trust Him.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd


Please see Steve and Robyn Bloem's book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Understanding Functional Mental Illness and your Brain

Kevin and Dylan attend your church. Tonight the phone rings and you're shocked by the news.
Both died today. Dylan had a stroke and Kevin committed suicide. You feel a rush of sympathy for both families.  Then you begin questioning why Kevin would commit suicide. Work was going well, he had a loving family, and he was just nominated to the church council. What reason could he possibly  have had?

On the surface, the deaths seem different.  They aren't. Dylan had high blood pressure and Kevin had a major depression.  They were both prescribed medication that controlled their symptoms. Because they didn't like the medication's side effects, about six months ago both of them stopped taking their pills. Their illnesses returned ----  unnoticed for the most part.  Untreated, both illnesses eventually killed the men.

Most people look at mental illness differently than physical illness.  They tend to believe that mental illness is due to character flaw or moral weakness.  It's important to recognize that the brain is an organ which is vulnerable to diseases just as any other organ of the body is vulnerable to disease.We don't understand as much about brain illness as we do about illness of other body organs.  Scientifically, it's difficult to study the living brain.  Added to that is society's history of prejudice against accepting that the brain is vulnerable to disease.

 When people have functional brain illness, their brains are diseased.  Often they have chemical imbalances which cause illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, melancholic subtype. ("Major depression" is an umbrella term which covers four kinds of depression. Melancholic subtype is a biological depression, a brain illness.  It occurs when the brain does not have chemical messengers that mediate nerve transmissions.  About 20  percent of people who are depressed have this  functional brain illness.  (Ed. note). This article was written a number of years ago and today no doubt there are differences in the categorization of depression and statistics of depression. These are the ones this article addresses. (Many people who would say they are depressed would be feeling bad but not have brain illness.)

Christians who have functional brain illnesses and their families face unique struggles.  The symptoms of the illness are confusing because they seem like those of psychological or spiritual illnesses.  The problem is, people can't respond to psychological or spiritual therapy.  When treatment fails, the victims and their families feel guilty and disillusioned.To understand functional brain illness, it might help to look at the prejudice people have against brain illness.  Consider the expression: "It is all in your head."When people say this, what they're really saying is: "It is all your imagination" or "You're faking it."With functional brain illness, the phrase is literally true because the illness is in the limbic system of the brain.

We don't say, "It is all in your head" to a person with a brain tumor, but that would be accurate.However, we often let people with funcitonal brain illnesses know (either directly or indirectly) that we think their illness is "all in their head"(their imagination).  It would be better to say, "It's all in your brain." Not only is the statement accurate, but it is not prejudicial or judgmental.

Think of what you hear people say to someone who is depressed.  "What do you have to be depressed about?  Your husband loves you.  You have a good job." "If this is happening to you, you must have sinned." (Recognize Job's friends?)  "There is something defective about your faith."
When we make statements like these, we do it because we need to have cause and effect.  If a person gets depressed, we want a rational explanation.  If we can explain, we protect ourselves.
"She's depressed because this happened  and since that's not likely to happen to me, I won't get depressed.."  We look for ways to distance ourselves from the chance we might get what others have.  If we can't explain why someone got depressed, then we're equally vulnerable and may get depressed, too.
For some people who are depressed these will work.  But for others---those with functional brain illnesses---these won't.  The key is remembering that the brain is an organ, just as the pancreas is an organ. We ought not to think differently about the brain illnesses than other organ illnesses....
Dr. Theodore Mauger, M.D., psychopharmacologist, in Pine Rest Today.
Please see below for our book and seminars.

If you would like to read reviews of our book, please go to:

If you would like to learn about one of our seminars; Whispers in the Foyer and Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness, please go to:


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Should Christians be Involved in Social Work?

I.  I believe that the pastor should actively promote and encourage critical thinking.  He should make it possible for his people to acquire lasting learning skills and should be training  them in how to start and develop  God based social ministries. This should not only be the case in the classroom but in vivo in the community and the church.  The flock of God must be grounded in Scripture and should prayerfully seek God’s leading as to ministry targets.   Christian leaders should be the best workers in social ministry because they view Sociology and social ministries through the lens of Scriptures and they are empowered by the Holy Spirit to  preach the gospel and to engage in  deeds of kindness. The Spirit gives boldness to help Christians advocate for the weak and the oppressed.  Social Work in of itself does not have the Holy Spirit,does not have the Father of Mercies and God of all Comfort and does not have a Risen Christ .

II.   I believe in a Christian based academia where students should be prepared for their life’s work in a general sense. This is not limited to but should involve basic Bible study. As they concentrate on their major, they should know how to integrate the subjects taught with Scripture.  Excellence should be pursued so that they should be leaders in their respective field.  When I was a student in college I was afforded an opportunity to ask the great J.I. Packer  what I needed to make me an effective pastor. He said: “Know two books, the Bible and the human heart.”  
Many people groups , especially the mentally ill and bereaved need help as they find themselves in an environment which is too complex or powerful for them to access services. They will need to be the target of a Christ based social ministry. Most of the hospitals in the 18th and 19th centuries and other social professions in the western world were started by Christians.  We should continue building on the foundation of the 19th century by preaching the gospel and helping people who for some reason are out of the mainstream and get “lost”by a society which does not care. The true mentally ill are these people. At the beginning   of the 20th century, Baptist churches and other churches began to separate themselves from those who were false teachers. It is a shame that they also rejected social work as a reaction to the social gospel. Our Lord’s ministry is a pattern which we should imitate. The Scripture says about Him:

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

As a co founder of Heartfelt Ministries I use various means to train people  how to come up with and implement social services. Much of the incentives to performing social ministry are in the Bible.  Whether it is by lecture or  by meaningful discussions on current events, or going into the community, we must apply the truth of the Scripture and its outcomes to the issues of every generation. This may also include going to a local mental health agency or visiting a place that provides housing for homeless persons. Mental illness is not only a personal disease it is a disease which has costly social consequences such as suicide, time lost at work, divorce and many more. My wife Robyn and I started our own ministry (Heartfelt Counseling Ministries) in 2004.  We have helped many who are mentally ill, bereaved and those who are persecuted for the faith, many times to the death. 

Robyn and I have had the privilege to reach thousands who live in this global village as a result of our  book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.  I was published by Kregel Inc. in 2005. 

 We wrote it with a goal of helping people understand mental illness and prodding them to use social action in the church, to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to relieve the painful suffering that it brings.   Kregel’s has given our book an academic status. It is being used in Christian colleges and seminaries to advocate for a comprehensive approach to getting those with mental illness and depression the help that they need and giving caregivers comfort support and a sense of community.

If you would like to read reviews of our book, please go to: 

If you would like to learn about one of our seminars; Whispers in the Foyer and Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness, please go to: