Listen Up: Jesus's Parables for Sunday School

Marty Machowski
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Everyone, including children, loves a good story, and who better to tell those stories than Jesus? This curriculum and music album, based on Jesus's parables, helps children to understand the gospel and the kingdom of God through Bible reading, discussion questions, object lessons, puppet skits, fun activities, and songs for families from the Listen Up music CD by Sovereign Grace Music.

Also available for parents is the companion family devotional, Listen Up: Ten-Minute Family Devotions on the Parables, which will reinforce the truths learned at church as families go over them together at home. These resources make the surprising truths from Jesus's parables relevant and alive for the next generation.

This twelve-week curriculum includes three learning levels—preschool to kindergarten (ages 4–6), elementary (ages 6–11), and middle school (ages 11–14)—and includes object lessons, crafts, and drama skits for each age group. Also included is a Bob Kauflin-produced music album, also entitled Listen Up, to reinforce the teaching in the curriculum.

  • Another transformational, gospel-centered resource from best-selling author Marty Machowski for children ages 4–11
  • Each week children will learn simple stories each containing a surprising truth that illuminates the gospel and the kingdom of God
  • Fun activities, object lessons, discussion questions, and songs teach the gospel through the parables in memorable ways
  • The companion family devotional, Listen Up: Ten-Minute Family Devotions on the Parables, reinforces the stories at home


Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over thirty years. He is the author of The Gospel Story Bible, Long Story Short, Old Story New, the Gospel Story Curriculum, the Prepare Him Room advent devotional and curriculum, Wise Up family devotional and curriculum, Listen Up family devotional and curriculum, Dragon Seed, and The Ology. He and his wife Lois have six children and two grandchildren, and they reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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"Listen Up cracks open a treasure chest of resources that preschool, elementary, and middle school teachers will love to use! Unpacking the parables, master-teacher Marty Machowski has crafted age-appropriate lessons loaded with activities for every type of learner. This beautifully designed curriculum is aimed at the heart and easy to use, whether this is your first year of teaching or your fortieth. Watch your students clap their hands, lift their voices, and engage their hearts and minds with the good news of Jesus Christ."
Champ Thornton, Pastor and author of The Radical Book for Kids, and Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation

"Marty is a parent's best friend when it comes to figuring out how to creatively and competently do what we really want to do, which is talk with our kids about what matters most—the word of God."
Nancy Guthrie, Author of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters

"If I ever had to return to my child-rearing years, I'd certainly want to take Listen Up with me. It is a book of family devotions, written in a lively, vivid style. It presents an accurate account of Jesus's parables and applies them well to the lives of every participant. Machowski includes excellent suggestions for object lessons, group activities, prayer, and 'going deeper,' while keeping the actual meetings under ten minutes! I can't imagine that anyone would follow the book's directions without becoming a better disciple of Jesus."
John M. Frame, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL

"Machowski has designed yet another magnificent resource for families. In this new devotional guide he teaches parents and kids how to listen to what God says to us in the parables. The Word of God is alive! We need help to see and understand, and that is what Machowski's devotional guides aim to do. It is wonderfully fitting for this parable genre that Machowski's illustrations shine as brilliant aids for our apprehension of the living Word."
Gloria Furman, Author of Missional Motherhood and Alive in Him

"Biblically faithful. Gospel rich. Theologically insightful. Practical. Creative. Engaging. These are some of the words that came to mind as I read through Marty Machowski's Listen Up I learned things I didn't know about the parables, and repeatedly found myself thinking, 'Parents and their kids are going to benefit so much from this book!' Marty has obviously done his homework and excels at using the whole Bible to help us understand what Jesus is saying in the parables. Best of all, he consistently points us not only to the words of Jesus, but to Jesus himself as the only Savior of the world."
Bob Kauflin, Director of Sovereign Grace Music

"God gifted Marty Machowski with love for the Bible and profound creativity. In Listen Up, he employs these gifts to share Jesus's parables with the next generation. Children will be engaged by the fun facts and interactive activities. More importantly, they'll learn to listen to, treasure, and build their lives on the Savior's words."
Jared Kennedy, Pastor of Families at Sojourn Community Church Midtown, Louisville, KY

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4 Reviews

  • 4
    Great resource for families!

    Posted by ReviewsByErin on 04 27 2018

    "Listen Up" is a 13-week study on Jesus's parables - but with a twist. This is specifically written to be used for family devotions. Each chapter contains five nights of Scripture reading, discussion prompts, and insightful questions meant to draw out both parents and children. Occasionally there are suggested activities to enhance your understanding of a particular story, but for the most part each of the nightly topics could be covered in about 10 minutes. I would certainly recommend this for families everywhere who desire to grow closer to Jesus together.

  • 4
    A Clear and Concise Devo Tool for Families

    Posted by Theron St. John on 04 25 2018

    Many Christian families find themselves in a predicament. I know a number of Christian parents who desire to instruct their children from the Word of God, yet they lack adequate knowledge and time to equip their child or children with a proper interpretation and application of God’s Word. What they need is a resource which explains the Bible clearly and delivers it concisely. Listen Up: 10-Minute Family Devotions on the Parables by Marty Machowski does both. The book covers many of the parables of Jesus, helping children and parents understand the purpose of the parables and the point of the particular parable. The book is grouped into 13 different sections. Each section is meant to take place over a week period (5 devotions per week). The structure of each section starts with an action word for the week and then follows with an activity to more concretely show what will be learned that week. The devotions are straightforward in looking at the Bible passage itself and then understanding what it means. Throughout the devotions, “Fun Fact” and “Going Deeper” features provide parents and children with additional information which they will find intriguing and instructive. This devotional guide by Marty Machowski will prove to be a valuable tool for Christian parents to use in taking their children through God’s Word. Attention is paid to context, both literary and historical. The book does not hesitate to deal with heavy matters either (such as topics on heaven and heel) and calls for the biblical response of repentance of sin and faith in Christ. While at times more could be said, such as the act of forgiveness when there is no repentance by the offender (see pages 78, 90-91), Listen Up teaches the parables of Jesus in a clear and concise manner. If you are a parent or someone who wants to pass on the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ onto the next generation, then let Listen Up: 10-Minutes Family Devotions on the Parables by Marty Machowski contribute to that legacy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Growth Press via Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 5
    Great Family Devotional Resource

    Posted by Laura on 04 23 2018

    Listen Up is a great devotional book for families. It focuses on the parables and includes 13 weeks of study. Each five day lesson includes one parable and a myriad of different activities which make the text come to life. There are discussion questions, crafts, games and even songs. This is book is a terrific Bible study resource for families. While this complimentary book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity Group, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.

  • 5
    Absolutely Brilliant Lesson Plan Book

    Posted by Laura V. Hilton on 04 20 2018

    LISTEN UP is an absolutely brilliant lesson plan book for parents and/or grandparents to teach biblical truths from Jesus's parables to their children. I was thinking it'd be ideal for Sunday School teachers, too, and it is also available in that format which would make it easier for the teacher to prepare the lesson. There is scripture reading, a small object lesson, stories, and discussion questions, all in a short ten-minutes a day, six days a week format. The author recommends preparing for the week by reading "Get ready" and "Get set" on Sunday, but if your Sundays are as busy as mine then it could easily be done on Saturday instead. I love the idea behind this and recommend this book for parents and other Christian caregivers. I also recommend looking into the LISTEN UP designed for Sunday School teachers as it is idea for classes and also for children's church.

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