I’m often asked, “Hey Pastor Heath, what’s a good Bible study to do with my children?” I’ve recommended some great children’s Bibles in the past – e.g., The Jesus Storybook Bible; but, until recently, I have never found a Bible study for families that I could whole-heartedly recommend. I recently purchased Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God by Marty Machowski and I’m thrilled to share my discovery with you. Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God's plan of salvation through the Old Testament, showing how each story points forward to Jesus Christ. My seven year old and five year old have really enjoyed our time of reading and discussion.
The great thing about this each day’s entry/lesson includes Scripture reading, questions to help your kids think about the passage, and suggestions for praying together.
Author Marty Machowski has six kids and has been a pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church (Glen Mills, PA) since 1988. He currently leads Covenant Fellowship’s children’s ministry. Here’s how he describes the book in the introduction:
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… Just getting all the tasks of the day checked off our list can leave any parent exhausted….
That is where I hope Long Story Short will help. The Bible can seem like a long story, but when you break it down into short devotions, teaching the Bible to your family is easy to do. The goal of this devotional is to, day by day, pass on a clear gospel message showing our children how every story in the Bible points forward or back to the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s story of salvation….
As you faithfully lead your children through the devotions in this book, don’t just read it as history. It is history, but it is so much more! Lead with expectation that the God of history will visit with your family. Wait and watch to see what God will do! Cling with faith to this hope, that through the gospel proclamation in your home, the Holy Spirit will regenerate the hearts of your children and lead them to faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone!
Check out this free PDF of chapter 1, courtesy of New Growth Press.
Don’t just take my word (though I’m usually right), here’s what some other (more important) people are saying about Long Story Short:
“I love the simplicity and practicality of Long Story Short. Marty Machowski gives parents a valuable resource to make disciples in our homes by highlighting the gospel story and the Hero of Scripture. I plan to strongly encourage the use of this book throughout our entire network of churches.”
—Scott Thomas, President, Acts 29 Network
“Parents, you know that teaching your children God’s Word—especially with children of varying ages—is never easy. But Marty Machowski has just made it easier. Long Story Short guides your family through Old Testament stories, each one highlighting the love and faithfulness of God and the hope of a Savior to come. To use this guide is to have an experienced father and pastor assisting you every night. These moments together, informed by Marty’s book, will help your children understand and be amazed by the grace of God as revealed in the Old Testament.”
—C.J. Mahaney, President, Sovereign Grace Ministries
“Marty Machowski has written the family devotional that many busy dads need—a user-friendly family worship guide. Each day provides Bible readings, food for thought, and talking points to use with the kids.This stuff is simple without being shallow. It is doctrinally sound, Christ-centered, and full of gospel grace and hope.What more could you want? Don’t wait! Start using this book today!”
—Tedd Tripp, pastor; author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart
“Again and again, and much to our disappointment, Luella and I would look for a solid, Scripture-centered, gospel-driven devotional to use with our children.This type of family worship resource was simply not available then. So, it is with much enthusiasm that I recommend Long Story Short. Through this tool your children will not only come to know the narrative of redemption, told in the pages of the Bible, but they will encounter the chief actor in that narrative, the Lord Jesus Christ. Again and again they will be confronted with their desperate need for his grace. What more could you want from a family devotional?”
—Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries