After teaching a parable, Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears, let him hear.” In other words, “This is important, so you better listen up,” and what could be more important than the good news of the kingdom of God?
This family devotional provides a unique opportunity for parents to help their children “listen up” and hear the gospel as Jesus himself shared it. Jesus told simple stories using everyday activities and objects that point to surprising spiritual truths about life in his kingdom. In the parables children (and adults!) will learn to treasure the gospel.
Children love stories, and the parables provide a wonderful opportunity to engage their imagination and help them understand and live out the good news of the kingdom of God. This thirteen-week family devotional is designed to help families explore the parables that Jesus taught through reading selected parables, activities, discussion questions, and “fun facts.”
Each five-day session includes Bible reading, discussion questions, a fun activity, and songs.
Also available is Listen Up: Jesus's Parables for Sunday School curriculum.
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.
"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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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.