Last Wednesday I posted about the exciting days ahead of the Old Story New Blog Tour, hosted by New Growth Press, that were to occur here on the blog. I had every intention of posting the first week’s devotions from Old Story New, but got sidetracked with a number of other things. One of which was our son Gresham’s first “real” bout with being ill. Our little guy had a fever of 103-104 that lasted about 4 days along with some other not-so-pleasant symptoms. After a Sunday evening trip to the ER and three Dr. appointments, it looks like, by God’s grace, he’s making a turn around! Susan and I are very thankful. So, now 5 days behind, I have some time to turn my attention to a very exciting resource for families.
Marty Machowski, Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, has written a new family devotional on the New Testament. In Old Story New (New Testament), the follow up to Long Story Short (Old Testament), Machowski continues to guide families into meaningful, engaging, and gospel-centered encounters with the text of Scripture.
Marty was kind enough to take time to answer a few questions about Old Story New, family devotions, salvation, the unity of the Bible’s story-line, and I’m thrilled to share his insights with you.
KF: Why do we find it so difficult to get into a devotional routine ourselves, much less for our entire family?
MM: Christians want to do devotions and spend time reading and studying their Bibles, but the busyness of life often steals away our time. When we get to the end of the day we are tired out and are looking for down time, not study time. Then when we look over to the table and catch a glimpse of a big thick Bible, we don’t know where to begin. The same is true of our family devotions. We have a desire to lead our families in devotions but we don’t know where to start and there are a host of other activities that won’t wait for us while devotions make a claim on our time.
KF: What is typically the best time for a family to get into the routine of a daily devotional?
MM: Often the best time to do family devotions is when we don’t have to schedule another time slot. That is why doing family devotions for a few minutes after dinner works well. Everyone is sitting down to eat anyway; why not use that context to spend a short time looking at God’s Word? We see our need for earthly bread but often don’t realize our need for spiritual bread. Using a book like Old Story New makes doing devotions simple. Everything is laid out for you; all the hard work is done, you just need to follow along.
KF: What makes this devotional different than others available? Are there many resources out there for entire families?
MM: Old Story New provides families with gospel-centered devotions that are theologically rich but simple to understand. They are long enough to be meaningful but short enough to complete in ten minutes a day. Many other devotionals are either over simplified and lack a clear gospel message or overly complex and difficult for children to follow. Old Story New finds the middle ground.
KF: Recognizing that salvation is entirely a work of grace, what are parents to do while trusting the Lord for the salvation of their child(ren)? How does Old Story New serve parents to that end?
MM: Every Christian parent wants their children to be saved. The problem is that it is God does the saving work in our children’s lives — not us. Embracing the reality that you can’t save your own children can be discouraging. There is, however, something parents can do. They can share the life transforming message of the gospel. Paul, in the book of Romans, tells us that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. So, what parents need is a tool that helps them regularly share the good news of the gospel. Old Story New does just that
KF: Why is it important for children, or anyone for that matter, to have an understanding of the grand story of the Bible? How does the Gospel Story for Kids series help parents and children develop this understanding?
MM: If you don’t have an understanding of the grand story of the Bible, it is easy to see it as a book of rules – things I need to do. Once you understand the big picture of scripture you realize that the Bible is really a story about what God did for us. The whole Bible is the unfolding of God’s great plan of redemption through his Son Jesus Christ. Knowing that larger truth helps you to understand how each story connects to God’s greater purpose. Sure, the Bible does hold out for us obedience to God. But the requirement to follow the law is designed to show us how weak we are and how much we need a Savior. The law is not the end of the Bible but the means through which we see that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Rightly interpreting that helps us to breathe in God’s grace in the sacrifice of Jesus, rather than feel we have to work our way to heaven. Old Story New keeps this big picture as the main theme of every week’s lesson.
I want to extend my sincere thanks to Marty for taking the time to interact with me on these important topics. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my full review of Old Story New!
To celebrate the release of Old Story New, New Growth Press has provided me with 2 copies to give away! To enter the giveaway, choose from any or all of the options below. NOTE: Please leave a separate comment on this post for each option you choose. The giveaway ends on Sunday, at 12am CDT. I will use Random.org to select the winner on Monday, October 15th, from all the eligible entries.
EACH OPTION IS WORTH 1 ENTRY. YOU MAY CHOOSE ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Leave a comment below, noting the resource(s) you’ve used for family devotions. Or, if you’re single, the resource(s) you’ve used for personal devotions. (+1)
- Follow @kevinfiske on Twitter. (+1)
- Tweet the following (+1): Check out @kevinfiske’s interview w/ @MartyMachowski on his new family devo from @newgrowthpress & enter to win a copy! http://bit.ly/VS9HzT
- Post about the interview and giveaway on your blog (+1). (Please include a link to your post.)
- Share this post on Facebook. (+1)
Again, you may choose from any or all of the options above, for a maximum of 5 entries per person. In order to gain multiple entries, you must leave separate comments for each option you complete.
I will contact the winners via email on Monday, October 15th. Your copy of Old Story New will be sent to you directly from the kind folks at New Growth Press. Spread the word!