A pastor from Texas tells the story of his two boys who gave their lives to Jesus after seeing Focus on the Family's John 3:16 commercial during the Denver Broncos/New England Patriots AFC playoff game last weekend.
The Colorado Springs-based Christian ministry FOTF tracked down David Grumme after he tweeted, "Both my sons just saw your commercial and gave their lives to Christ as a result. Thank you. #John316."
The airing of the 30-second TV spot during the match showed children quoting and explaining John 3:16.
"I watched the Broncos beat the Steelers, so I was looking forward to seeing them beat the Patriots, too," Grumme, the pastor of creative communications at Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugarland, Texas, told Focus-affiliated Citizen Magazine. "So we were just sitting in our living room on the couch, watching the game with the boys."
He has two children, Cameron, 8, and Jaden, 6.
When Grumme learned that Focus would be running a commercial, he said to himself, "What a great opportunity to reach a lot of people." But the pastor had no idea that his kids were also about to be reached.
"They stopped what they were doing, watched that commercial and started commenting on it," Grumme said. "Then Jaden, my younger boy, said, 'Well … I want to have everlasting life.' So I just stopped and looked at him, and said, 'Well, let's go take care of that.'"
Pastor Grumme told Jaden about who God is and who Jesus is. "So I basically laid it all out for him and asked him if he was ready and if that was what he wanted to do, and he said yes." "Dear Jesus, I ask you to forgive my sins," Jaden prayed. "I want you to come live in my heart and follow you all of my life."
Then Grumme talked to his older boy and told him what the younger one had done. When the pastor asked Cameron if he was ready for it, he said, "Yes."
But Grumme wondered why the commercial made Jaden decide he wanted everlasting life when he and his brother were exposed to it in church every week and also at home. "So I asked my son about it the next morning, and he said, 'I saw other kids my age that were excited about Jesus.'"
Since then, the two boys have been reminding each other that Jesus is in their hearts now and they need to act accordingly, the pastor added.
John 3:16, perhaps the most widely known Bible verse, first became a hot Internet topic when Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow made reference to it following his team's overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 8. Internet searches for the verse were further fueled by Tebow's stats during the game, in which he threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 passing yards.
The FOTF ad helped John 3:16 to again become the number one trending topic on Twitter for the second time in about a week.
Internet evangelists from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association also took advantage of the trend last week by setting up a Web page explaining the verse. Near the end of the week, the BGEA reported that 9,000 people had visited the website and 170 people began a relationship with Jesus Christ as a result.
The John 3:16 commercial isn't the first FOTF ad that Tebow played an important role in. The organization also ran a pro-life ad during Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 that featured Tebow and his mother, Pam.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."