An interview with Marty Machowski, author of Old Story New
Who can resist a story filled with adventure, suspense, drama and mystery? A story with these elements easily captures our attention, no matter how old or young we may be. However, we often forget that the gospel story has all these characteristics, and it’s a true story that has the power to save. Longtime children’s ministry leader Marty Machowski brings the entire family together to rediscover the excitement of the gospel by taking a deep biblical truth and presenting it in an easy-to-understand weekly devotion in his latest release, Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God (New Growth Press, October 2012, ISBN 978-1-936768-66-0, $19.99, also available in eBook).
Q: Why do we find it so difficult to get into a devotional routine ourselves, much less for our entire family?
I think there are a couple of reasons it is difficult for us adults to keep a consistent devotional routine. First, parents have a lot going on. We’ve got work, bills, the lawn to cut, meals to cook, dishes to wash, the laundry and then there is the care for our children. By the time we finish all that, we are tired.
Secondly, we live prosperous lives. It can be easy to think we can provide for ourselves. We can forget about God until a trial comes. That is why spending time in the Bible is so important. It reminds us of our need and reintroduces us to what is really important. So, the more time we spend reading the Word, the more we realize how important it is to read.
Q: What is typically the best time for a family to get into the routine of a daily devotional?
Dinner-time is the best time for most families since you are already gathered together. I tell moms and dads to put their family devotional right next to their dinner plate or on their chair. Then, as soon as dinner is over, before everyone is excused, take ten minutes and do family devotions.
If your family is comprised of a bunch of early risers, morning can work well but I find that nearly every family has a child who is slow to get up in the morning. The last thing you need is to create an argument first thing in the morning. But if morning works for you, family devotions is a great way to start your day.
Q: Tell us about the format of each week.
Each week of five devotions in Old Story New begins with an activity and a creative introduction to the first day’s devotion. Then the devotions for days one through four explore the same New Testament Bible story, connecting the story to the gospel on day three. It only takes ten minutes a day to complete the devotion and we give you everything you need.
You read the Bible passage and a short explanatory paragraph followed by a few simple questions (with answers!). Finally, every day ends with a suggested prayer. Day five introduces a prophetic passage from the Psalms or Prophets that points forward to Jesus. There were so many amazing prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament that we wanted to include them in this New Testament devotional.
Q: How many lessons are included in the book? How long will it take a family to go through Old Story New?
There are 78 weeks of devotions. That is a year and a half of Bible Study for your family. When you combine Old Story New with our Old Testament devotional, Long Story Short, you get three years of family devotions, taking you from Genesis all the way through to Revelation.
Q: What makes this devotional different than others available? Are there many resources out there for entire families?
There simply are not many devotionals out there that help your family study the Bible together. What makes Old Story New special is its gospel emphasis. Every story is connected to the Gospel every week.
Q: Can Old Story New be used by families who have children of all different ages? Can everyone really benefit from doing the devotional together in only 10 minutes?
Old Story New simply helps you share the Bible with your family. The Bible is a book for all ages. Once your children hit their grade school years, it is time to help them study the scriptures. If you have older children, get them involved in helping you lead the morning devotions or helping their younger brothers and sisters by feeding them the answers to the questions.
If you have a younger preschooler, they are not going to get all the theology but remember, the Bible is a book of stories and younger children love stories. Let them play nearby on a rug or in their high chair. You will be surprised at how much they pick up.
When you combine, the Old Testament Long Story Short and New Testament Old Story New devotionals, you get three years of family devotions If you had a five year old when you started, they will be eight and ready to begin the books all over again. Think of the program as a ready-made way to take your family through the Bible again and again.
Q: What other resources are available in the Gospel Story for Kids series? How does Old Story New coordinate with the companion children’s ministry curriculum you wrote?
Old Story New follows the Gospel Story New Testament curriculum story for story. That means you get to follow up at home with the lesson your child’s Sunday school teacher presented at church!
I have found that parents want to teach their children the Bible. Their biggest problem is that they just don’t know where to begin. Old Story New gives them the tool they need to make it easy. And, all the children, no matter what their age, study the same Bible story in the Gospel Story curriculum. That means parents only need to do one thing. No more take home sheets to get lost on the floor of your minivan. Everything you need to follow up for all your children is all together in Old Story New.
Q: Old Story New and the entire Gospel Story for Kids series is great because the products can be used separately, yet how does everything fit together for use at home and in church?
The Gospel Story Bible follows along with the same stories as the devotional and the Sunday School curriculum. Everything works together to ensure that the life transforming message of the Gospel is presented both at church and home, every week and every Sunday. There simply is no more comprehensive gospel program available.
Q: A series of stories, devotionals and curriculum to cover the entire Bible in just three years–and adapted for three different age groups–sounds like quite the undertaking. How long did this project take you?
All together it has taken me twelve years to write, rewrite, and go through the editing process for the Gospel Story Curriculum, devotionals, and The Gospel Story Bible. I didn’t set out to publish a curriculum. I simply wanted to provide a helpful tool for the families of my church. But, once other churches discovered we had a gospel focused curriculum that taught all the children the same story and provided five days of devotions for moms and dads at home, they wanted to use it too.
Long before New Growth Press finished publishing the Gospel Story line of products, we had over one hundred churches using our draft. They were glad to overlook a spelling error or two to get the gospel into the hands of their families. Today, the Gospel Story Curriculum is far better than the draft version. We’ve added hundreds of new object lessons, polished the content, restructured the format, and added professionally drawn coloring sheets.
Visit http://gospelstoryforkids.com for more information about the Gospel Story for Kids series and curriculum. The website is also home to Marty’s blog on family, children’s ministry and more.