Listen Up

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Author: Marty Machowski


10-Minute Family Devotions the the Parables

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.

  • Gospel truths told in simple, easy-to-understand stories
  • Family activities, discussion questions, and Bible readings make leading family devotions stress-free for busy parents
  • Ten-minute-a-day format holds children’s attention
  • Memorable stories that will give children the tools to remember key gospel principles


About the author: 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 BibleLong Story ShortOld 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.

Marty Machowski is passionate about teaching the gospel to children through family Bible study time as well as kids Sunday school, so he writes for both audiences. He explains, "As parents and children's ministry workers, we must make sure that every child in our care knows the gospel of Jesus Christ and where they stand in relationship to the gospel." His kids Bible materials, The Gospel Story for Kids products, are designed to do just that.

Marty Machowski, who studied Industrial Design in college, learned to combine the creativity of art with the discipline of mechanical engineering. He reflects on how his background specifically prepared him for his current ministry as an author. "Thinking up the hundreds of object lessons for the Gospel Story for Kids curriculum used problem solving creativity I learned as an industrial designer. It was exciting and challenging to create fun games and object lessons for kids which communicated the biblical concepts of the weekly lessons."

Wondering if Marty Machowski's Christian books might be a good fit for you?  Marty has been deeply influenced by C. J. Mahaney's Living the Cross Centered Life, Edmund Clowney's The Unfolding Mystery, S. G. De Graff's Promise and Deliverance, and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. If you enjoy these ministry and thought leaders, you may enjoy Marty Machowski's Christian books. 


"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

"Marty Machowski is at it again! With Listen Up, Marty has put another tool in parent's hands, helping parents to make wise use of one of Jesus's most common teaching methods: parables. These are some of the most memorable stories in the Bible, and Marty will help you teach them to your kids in unforgettable ways."  ~C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville