New Growth Press
Family devotions are often lauded by Christian leaders. Yet anyone who has tried to establish a family altar knows how difficult they can be to carry out. For parents longing to have meaningful family devotions, Long Story Short is a helpful resource. For many, it will make family devotions a time that their children look forward to instead of dread.
Marty Machowski, the author of Long Story Short, is an experienced family minister and children’s minister. It is obvious that he loves children and the Lord. This resource has 78 weeks of family devotions, taking participants from Genesis through the book of Nehemiah. Each day has a review from the day before, Scripture to read, a few questions to discuss, and something to pray about. Every once in a while the book encourages children to ask questions of their parents, drawing out what they are like. The book is thorough; very few children will get through this study without knowing Scripture in a deeper way, and learning how to apply passages in the Bible to their everyday lives.
Perhaps one of the best resources of this book is found in the introductory remarks. There, Marty Muchowski coaches his readers on how to conduct family devotions, and the family altar in general, based on the developmental level of their children. For instance, he shares how the use of Long Story Short will look different for preschoolers than for grade school children (p. 3).
As I read through this book, I loved the concept of this resource and the quantity of material. I would have liked a higher ratio of active learning to discussion, with a few more devotions containing little learning activities and games that the whole family could enjoy and then reflect upon. Currently these activities are used once a week, but I would have like to have seen this principle used every day. I also would like to see Long Story Short as a hole-punched book so that it could be put in a three ring binder as it gets frequent use. Nevertheless, these are minor points.
Long Story Short is a rare find. There are very few guides for family devotions that are this thorough and this good. Anyone wishing to try to establish a family altar needs to have this book on their shelf. – Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Christian parents know the importance of passing the gospel story on to their children, yet we live in a busy world filled with distractions. Schedules collide, there is homework and yard work and dishes and laundry, the car's oil should be changed, there are phone calls to make and before you know it, everyone is getting to bed late again.
The Bible can seem like a long story for an active family to read, but when you break it down into short sections, as Marty Machowski does, family devotions are easy to do. Long Story Short will help busy parents share with their children how every story in the Old Testament points forward to God's story of salvation through Jesus Christ. You won't find a more important focus for a family devotional than a daily highlighting of the gospel of grace. Clever stories and good moral lessons may entertain and even help children, but the gospel will transform children. The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transform the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read.
Ten minutes a day, five days a week is enough time to pass on the most valuable treasure the world has ever known. Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God's plan of salvation through the Old Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school.