Long Story Short is written to present a Biblical Gospel from cover to cover to aid parents in passing the Bible on to their children, day by day. To pass on a clear Gospel message showing children how every story in the bible points forward or back to the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s story of salvation.”
Author Marty Machowski delivers just that. Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for twenty-two years. Marty leads “Promise Kingdom”, the children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester Pennsylvania.
“Few Christian parents would disagree with the importance of passing on the truth of the Gospel to their children, yet we live in a busy world where our lives are filled with distractions. Just getting all the tasks of the day checked off our list can leave any parent exhausted. It is easy to see how, though we have a desire to pass on the truth of the gospel, we can’t find the time. Schedules collide, there is homework and yard work and dishes and laundry, the car’s oil needs to be changed, there are phone calls to make… and before you know it, everyone is getting to bed late again. On top of that our sinful natures can think of a hundred reasons why any given time is not a good time for family Bible study. Contrary to what many believe, daily family bible study need not take a lot of time. God can use a short, simple family devotion, consistently practiced over time to yield more fruit in the lives of our children than we realize. “
The book contains 61 weeks of Monday-Friday ten minute devotionals, covering the Old Testament. (Volume 2 covers the New Testament). All in all, it gives 3 years of lessons. The overall question for each week is “How does this passage point forward to Jesus?”
Marty includes an introductory chapter that shares how to get started, and how to use the book with preschool, grade school, and young teens. This chapter should not be skipped as this really is the “instruction manual” for the whole book and has great suggestions for how to adapt the material for your family.
The week starts with a fun creative activity to introduce the week’s journey. These are hands-on, multi-sensory experiences. Sometimes they require a prop but they are easy-to-find items. The book does encourage parents to read in advance to gather any supplies etc. that may be needed. These activities hit home without distracting from the main point. Well done!
Each day begins with “Picture It”, a kind of creative brainstorming analogy to introduce the day’s main point. (If you wanted to spend more time each day, these ideas could be done instead of imagined.) This is followed by the scripture reference. Only the address is printed, allowing you to choose your preferred translation. The book states that you need to make sure every child has a bible even toddlers. Great advice! Then the scripture is summarized, very conversationally so you can read it straight from the book and sound like you are just “talking” with your kids.
“Talk About It” discussion questions follow, and include answers, but I would warn not to be too anxious to give the answer quickly as that is a sure fire way to snuff out any creative thinking and future participation. There are 3-4 questions in each section, and this could add considerable time to the devotion if children are really into the discussion. Maybe a timer would help keep it short and sweet and keep them wanting more. Be sensitive to the balance of time and good discussion.
Closing in prayer together concludes the daily discussion. Prayers are not scripted but a suggestion is given.
I love this book for veteran Christian parents looking for a new and creative way to share devotional time with their kids. The honest biblical truths, and the summaries and discussions are sure to deepen the spiritual walk of children who have grown up in christian homes with Christian ideals.
At the same time, this book is presented in such a comfortable fashion that a new Christian can lead their children through their journey and they would not feel intimidated by the content or its presentation.
Versatility is what makes this book such a gem. Anyone can use it. The conversational tone makes it real and authentic. The format allows you to start from beginning or choose to jump around as it seems relative. It could be used in children’s church or Sunday school, midweek programs, or a children’s message in a church service, but it’s best use would be in the home bringing families together in their faith adventure.
Available at www.newgrowthpress.com for $13.99.