Thursday Book Club: Teaching Children Can Be Simple

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

Last Sunday: Jesus Anointed at Bethany

This week, Sojourn celebrated Mother’s Day, and, in SojournKids, we studied the story of Jesus’ Anointing At Bethany from John 12:1-11. We learned that:

  • Mary honored Jesus by pouring very expensive perfume on his feet.
  • She anointed him while he was still alive to show His great power over death.
  • We honor Jesus when we do things that show his goodness and greatness.

Download the SojournKids At Home for this lesson. Download our preschool learning centers for this lesson.

On the previous week, we studied the story of Jesus feeding the crowd of 5000. Here is the SojournKids At Home for that lesson.


A typical parenting conversation…

Kevin DeYoung posted today about parenting.  He includes this typical parenting conversation. My take away was… “I am not alone.”

Me: What’s the matter son?
Child: I want that toy and he won’t give it to me!
Me: Why do you want the toy?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: What’s going on in your heart when you desire that toy?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: Think about it son. Use your brain. Don’t you know something?
Child: I guess I just want the toy.
Me: Obviously. But why?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: Fine. [Mental note: abandon “why” questions and skip straight to leading questions.] Do you think he is having fun playing with the toy right now?
Child: No.
Me: Really?! He’s not having fun? Then why does he want that toy in the first place?
Child: Because he’s mean.
Me: Have you ever considered that maybe you are being mean by trying to rip the toy from his quivering little hands?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: What do you know?
Child: I don’t know!
Me: Nevermind. [I wonder how my brilliant child can know absolutely nothing at this moment.] Well, I think taking the toy from him will make your brother sad. Do you like to make him sad?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: [Audible sigh.]
Child: He makes me sad all the time!
Me: Well, I’m getting sad right now with your attitude! [Pause, think, what would Paul Tripp do?  Thinking . . . .thinking . . . .man, I can’t stop thinking of that mustache. This isn’t working. Let’s just go right to the Jesus part.] You know, Jesus wants us to love each other.
Child: I don’t know.
Me: I didn’t ask you a question!
Child: [Pause.] Can I have some fruit snacks?
: No, you can’t have fruit snacks. We are talking about the gospel. Jesus loves us and died for us. He wants you to love your brother too.
Child: So?
Me: So give him the toy back!

42 Days until VBS–New Poster!

There are just 42 days left before our Midtown Campus VBS.  After that, there will be only a couple of weeks before the J-town Campus version. Sign up now to register your children or to serve! Decorations will start going up at the Midtown and J-town campuses on Wednesday.  I’ll post some pictures later in the week.  For now, take a look at this new poster:

47 Days Until VBS–Mission

There are just 47 days left before our Midtown Campus VBS.  After that, there will be only a couple of weeks before the J-town Campus version. Sign up now to register your children or to serve! The last day of VBS this year is about Mission.  We’ll be studying Matthew 28:16-20.  Here are two great songs on the Jesus’ “great sending” that are not in the SonSurf! curriculum, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make an appearance during VBS week.

The first is “I’m Ready To Go (Matt 28v18-20)” by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  You can find it on their Songs that Jesus Said: Scripture into Music album. You can download lyrics, listen to a preview of the song, and purchase MP3s at

The second is the song “Go!” from Seeds Family Worship.  You can find it on their The Power of Encouragement album.  You can download lyrics, listen to a preview of the song, and purchase MP3s at And here is a video preview of the song: