Marty Machowski

Thursday Book Club: The Coming Savior Advent Devotional

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Some friends of mine at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glenn Mills, PA, have put together an amazing devotional for the four weeks of Advent. It traces four prophecies from the Old Testament through their announcement and fulfillment in the birth of Christ. The preface explains:

This booklet is designed to help you on a journey, exploring the most wonderful prophecies of the Bible, which predicted the coming of the Christ Child hundreds of years before the reign of Caesar Augustus and the census which drew Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Then, it will lead you through the fulfillment of those same prophesies, tracing the redemptive plan of God all the way to the second Advent, when God is united in person, to his redeemed people.

For each prophecy, the devotional also provides an accompanying holiday activity to do with your family. I've come across it a bit late this year, but I think this devotional may guide our family through the Christmas season in 2012. Click here to download a copy of this great resource!

The Gospel Story Bible

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testaments The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments by Marty Machowski (New Growth Press, 2011)

My friend, Marty Machowski, has just released his second resource from New Growth Press, and it is available for 65% off  ($9.99) through this Wednesday.

The 156 stories in this new storybook bible correspond with Gospel Story curriculum that we're using at SojournKids. We'll be getting a copy of the Bible for each of our kids classrooms. I'm really thankful for the simplicity and Gospel centrality of this Bible storybook. And I really like the beautiful line illustrations. Find out more at

Here is a short recommendation from Sojourn member and Christian education professor, Dr. Timothy Paul Jones:

"I could speak at length about how much I recommend Marty Machowski's books to churches - and indeed I do, along with books from a long list of other authors. But Marty's resources for families and children also appear on a far shorter list that places them in a more significant category for me: they are books that I actually use in my home. Again Marty has provided us with a God-centered, Scripture-grounded, gospel-driven resource that orients the minds of children toward the wondrous works of God." --Timothy Paul Jones, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Family Ministry, Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY

You can purchase your own copy of the Bible storybook HERE! And you can preview the Bible below:

Curriculum FAQs: Why are you using the Gospel Story curriculum by New Growth Press?

UncategorizedJared Kennedy3 Comments

I recently wrote a post on how we have chosen curriculum at Sojourn. I mentioned there that we write about 40% of our lesson material each week.  But what about the other 60%? We are currently using a pre-publication curriculum called God's Story that is written by Marty Machowski and the team at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glenn Mills, PA. Portions of the curriculum will be published by New Growth Press beginning this Fall under the name Gospel Story. Here are just a few reasons why we've chosen Gospel Story:

  1. Gospel Story is about the gospel. The curriculum seeks to show the big picture of the Bible.  Each week, there is a focus on how Old Testament Messianic passages are fulfilled in Christ. The majority of the Bible--including New Testament letters--is covered in the chronological lesson plan. And the curriculum makes many references and applications to how the good news of Jesus relates to our lives.
  2. Gospel Story is a unified curriculum. It teaches the same Bible lesson on two different learning levels each week. The preschool lessons are targeted at ages 3-5. We use it for our Twos, Threes, Pre-K, and Kindergarten classes. Grade school lessons are targeted at grades 1-6. We use it for Grades 1-5. Both age groups include 156 lessons (78 on the Old Testament and 78 on the New Testament).  The unified nature of the curriculum is an excellent help for equipping parents to do discipleship at home. If a family has three children in our ministry--in fifth grade, third grade, and Kindergarten--they will all be studying the same Bible passage on the same week. Conversations about the lesson on the way home can involve all three kids.
  3. New Growth is releasing some excellent family-equipping resources to accompany the curriculum. Long Story Short: 10 Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God has already been released. The 78 weeks of devotions correspond with the 78 lessons in the Old Testament curriculum. Here is a great video with Marty on the resource:

    In October, New Growth will publish The Gospel Storybook Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments. Here is a PDF preview of the book that looks to be an excellent resource. The 156 stories in the book will correspond exactly with the curriculum lessons.  We'll certainly put one of these books in each of our Preschool classes when it is published. And we'll probably give one away to every family at our Baby Dedication.

  4. Gospel Story is a digital curriculum. So, it is adaptable. We're not doing the lessons in order, but we're instead re-arranging them to correspond as closely as possible with Sojourn's Sunday sermon schedule. The digital lessons are easy to distribute to our team along with the supplementary music services, preschool learning centers, and Take Home sheets that we're writing ourselves.  What we have found is that this curriculum provides a good framework from which our SojournKids team create and modify activities, art projects, and other additional resources.

Thursday Book Club: Teaching Children Can Be Simple

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Post image for Long Story Short Devotional The following article is by Marty Machowski. It is  taken from Bible Study Magazine, where his book Long Story Short was recently featured.  The counsel that you’ll find below is very helpful.

I remember feeling the full weight of my leather-covered adult Bible when I first sat down to teach my kids. At that moment, the responsibility seemed overwhelming. Questions flooded my mind: “Where do I start? How much should I read? What should I say?” And the biggest question of all: “Am I even qualified to do this?”

But teaching the Bible to my children was easier than I thought. It’s easier than most parents think. Here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Start with the Stories. There’s a reason story Bibles are so popular. Who wouldn’t be captivated by stories about giants, battles, miracles, and shipwrecks? These stories are in your adult Bible with even more detail. Read Genesis, Exodus, 1 Samuel, the Gospels, and the book of Acts. Watch your children get excited about what will happen next.
  • Shorter is Better. All you need is ten minutes a day. Read a shorter passage—not a whole chapter—using your Bible’s chapter subdivisions as a guide. Ask a few simple questions after you read. Let the discussion go where it will—then pray. Keep your Bible at the dinner table, and pick up where you left off the next day. After a couple of weeks, your children might remind you that it’s Bible study time.
  • Be prepared for distractions. It’s no surprise that children’s attention spans are short. I’ve blown more than one family Bible study by getting frustrated when my children lost focus. Allow distractions to run their course. Pause for a minute, and then draw your children’s focus back to what you are reading.
  • Look for Jesus. Stories in the Old Testament look forward to Christ: God providing a deliverer to save his people and blood sacrifices being offered up for sin. And every New Testament story points to Jesus. In each Bible story you read, look for him.
  • Faithfulness over time is what’s important. Consistency is more important than a fantastic devotion. Don’t forget that it’s the power of the gospel that transforms children’s lives, not the quality of our presentation. Often, your family Bible study is going to feel average. Just remember that the impact we leave on our children takes place over years.

HT: Covenant Fellowship Church blog

Teaching Kids to Praise

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Originally posted on Sojourn's Travel Blog (February 2010) Teaching Kids To PraiseIf you are a parent, then God has commanded you to teach your children about Him.  And He has commanded you to teach your children to worship Him—and worship Him expressively.

In Psalm 78:4, the songwriter, Asaph, declares: “We will… tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” Asaph is an example of both a father who led his children in worship and a leader who led the community in worship.  Asaph wrote worship songs that gave praise to the Lord and reminded the people about all that he did.  Even if you are not musical like Asaph, you can lead your children to worship God.

  1. Enjoy God yourself! Expressive joy in the gospel message makes it believable to our children.   Parents who truly display the joy of the Lord in their whole being encourage children to believe.   You are the curriculum that your child will learn most fully.  So, be expressive yourself.  It is a good thing to praise the Lord (Psalm 92:1).  Check out these great worshipresources—including the chord sheet for Jeremy Quillo’s arrangement of “When I Think About Jesus.”  Download the PDF here. Then, fill your home with praise!  Sing out!  Clap!  Dance!
  2. Encourage your kids to be responsive and expressive! You shouldn’t demand outward expression from your kids, but you can encourage it. The scripture calls everyone to clap their hands to the Lord. We should feel comfortable doing the same thing.  The call to worship God appropriately is universal (Psalm 47:1).  Call your kids to respond to God with their hearts, but don’t set your expectations too high for their responsiveness or heart engagement in singing, because many of the children are not yet believers.  Remember, your leadership and example is the most important thing.
  3. Explain what you are doing. Take time to explain what you are doing.  Parents have the privilege and responsibility to show our kids the greatness, power, and glory of Jesus.  Take time to talk about the words we sing.  Take time to explain why we do what we do (Exodus 13:8).  Take time to ask questions about what a song means and how its words apply to your child’s life.   Ask questions to find out how much our kids really understand about what we’re doing.   By the way, these conversations always seem to be more fruitful when they are casual—outside a time of family worship rather than during it.


(1) Explain to your children why we sometimes raise our hands when we sing or pray.  Read 1 Timothy 2:8.  Explain how we want our kids to get comfortable lifting their hands in worship, but we don’t want them to misunderstand what it signifies.  Lifting our hands shows that God is holy (different from us), and He has made us holy (different from the world).  We don’t lift our hands to show that we make ourselves holy or great.  We don’t lift our hands in order to become holy.

(2) Read Psalm 98 together as a family.  Then answer these questions:  Who and what is worshiping God in this song?  How are they worshiping God?  What parts of their bodies do they use?  What instruments do they use?  Why do they worship God in this way?

More Resources:

Bob Kauflin, “Q&A Training Children to Worship God,”Worship Matters (3/31/06).

Bob Kauflin, “One more thought on Training Children to Worship God,” Worship Matters (3/31/06).

Mike Bradshaw and Ken Boer, “Training Children to Worship God,” WorshipGod09 Conference: From Generation To Generation © 2009 Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Marty Machowski and Mike Bradshaw, "Training Children to Worship God," WorshipGod06 Conference (c) 2006 Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Chandi Plummer and Jared Kennedy, “Music for Little Ones,”SojournKids (10/2/08).