SAGINAW- On Saturday, as the sun shined on a fine autumn day in Michigan, hundreds of faithful gathered at the Center for Ministry in Saginaw Township.
Both young and old came to learn from and be encouraged by Bishop Robert Gruss.
Moments after emphatically encouraging attendees to ask for the Holy Spirit's help, Bishop Gruss calmly shared, "I've been sent here, I believe, to light a fire."
Attendees applauded enthusiastically in response, as Bishop Gruss paused and smiled.
Throughout the morning, the faithful reacted with smiles, nods of agreement and raised hands as feelings of excitement joined a sense of duty and mission as Bishop Gruss challenged the faithful.
Bishop Gruss began the morning explaining the importance of knowing one's identity as a child of God.
Citing the first book of the Bible, Genesis, Bishop Gruss reminded attendees that "the heart of discipleship is God's desire for us- for you. God wants to have an intimate relationship of love with you."
Bishop Gruss shared the story of how earlier in his life, he had heard that God loved him, but didn't know what it meant or what it felt like. Knowing this, Bishop Gruss prayed for a lived experience of God's love.
"I began to pray every day, 'Lord, give me a lived personal experience of your love for me- that became my prayer every day. I began to see my life, other people and the church in a different way. I began to experience things, spiritually, that were amazing."
Bishop Gruss then explained that it is through an encounter and relationship with God that we come to know who we are (our true identity). He then went on to describe what it is like to have a relationship with Christ.
"When you are in love, you go to bed thinking of a person. They're on your mind all day. You are claimed by them. You want to be with him or her. Your actions and behaviors change. You become someone new. That is what a lively relationship with Jesus Christ is like."
Bishop Gruss continued, "Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, falling in love with God in an absolute way. What you are in love with will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed, how you spend your weekends, what breaks your heart and what amazes you. If I have fallen in love with Him [God], I will do anything for Him. Nothing will stand in the way. Amen?"
Attendees responded loudly, "Amen!"
Bishop Gruss explored numerous other topics including the challenges of faithful discipleship, such as materialism, relativism and more. He also commented on the dangers of today's culture and how to respond. The full presentation by Bishop Gruss will be posted online in the near future.