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Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God
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Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  216 ratings  ·  54 reviews
It happens in marriages, parent-child relationships, friendships, workplaces, and churches: Communication falters, friendships wane, teenagers withdraw, marriages fail, and bitter rifts sever once-strong ties. Christian communities are no exception. Why do so many of our relationships suffer from alienation, indifference, and even hostility?

Author Sam Crabtree believes tha
Paperback, 178 pages
Published 2011 by Crossway
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Feb 14, 2011 Devin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Devin by: Brett Toney
Sam Crabtree: an excellent pastor and, now, a pretty good author. I picked this book per the suggestion of a friend and mentor after I confessed to him how little affirmation I have given to others. This book was just what I needed.

Crabtree does an excellent job throughout the book keeping a pastoral tone. While addressing theological controversy where he needs to, he paints a beautiful picture of how habitual affirmation can create and restore deep relationships in marriages, families, friends,
An excellent book about seeing the grace of God in others. Very useful and encouraging resource on improving your attitude towards others. Not a squishy, feel-good read. It's a positive theology of building up others and actively seeing the sanctifying work of God in those around you.

Read in March 2012 and again March 2013 to prepare for a sermon.
Stephen Altrogge
This book was so very helpful to me. I am critical by nature. I am more inclined to point out people's flaws than encourage them for their strengths. This book challenged me to grow in the biblical practice of affirming and encouraging other Christians. I recommend this to all.
There is a lot to affirm in this book. Unfortunately, there isn't much to write about. Mr. Crabtree has an excellent message and his delivery is clear. However, for the amount of editing that he indicates took place, the book is surprisingly disjointed. He includes a Q&A as chapter 6 of 9. I don't believe I've ever seen a Q&A with that much of a book left. Granted, the last half of the book feels like a series of appendices, but still, I'm surprised that with a team of editors involved a ...more
Brian Pate
Praise what God is doing in other people. That's the big idea of this book. If we fail to commend the character of Christ and reflection of God's image in others, we actually rob him of his rightful glory. We should bring God into our compliments, since they are to be based on reflections of his character.

The bulk of the book is in chapters 2-3 (45 pages), where Crabtree explains that there must be a healthy proportion between correction and affirmations. Too much correction will cause the recip
3.5 stars. GREAT message, mediocre writing. In spite of the fact that I'm only giving this 3.5 stars, I highly recommend that everyone who interacts with another human reads this book, or at least chapter 2.

From what I understand, the author is a colleague of Piper's, and the vibe of his writing is extremely similar. In fact, Piper wrote the intro, and if you didn't know the author you could easily think Piper wrote the book.

THE DOWNSIDE: At times the author drives the point he's already made
John Brackbill
The concept was very helpful and important to be reminded of. He laid out the Biblical basis for practicing affirmation in the first part of the book. There are some helpful examples given as well.

Here are a few negatives (at the risk of not being affirming!)
-The formatting on this kindle addition was very bad-worst I have seen.
-His style of writing does not flow very well.
-At times it seemed like the biblical foundation for affirming was a distant memory and popular psychology tactics had t
Joshua D.
Jun 29, 2011 Joshua D. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents, managers, leaders
A helpful book on the ministry of affirmation (or encouragement). The premise is this: every good thing comes from God. When we see a good thing, we ought to affirm it. When we don't, we actually pass over something good God is doing, therefore demeaning or undervaluing his work in the world or in other people. So this is a vertical issue (how we praise God), but it's also a horizontal issue (there are tremendous benefits in affirming other people).

To the first point: we need to affirm good thin
Feb 08, 2014 Rita rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rita by: Stephen Gambill
This book was so helpful to me at this particular stage of my life that I didn't even notice how repetitive it was. I must have desperately needed the repetition since affirming does not come easy for me...not even close. My default mode is critical and judgmental. I thank God my pastor put this book into my hands at just the right time. I intend to re-read it at least once a year.
David Morris
It's not very affirming of me to give this 2 stars. And I feel bad. But personally I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. I found the first chapter and the idea that good affirmation affirms Godliness or Christlikeness helpful. Stylistically, I thought the book was repetitive, the vocabulary esoteric at points, and at times the wording cloying. It also seemed really light on Scriptural support, and though it wasn't pop psychology it lacked a consistent exegetical support to match its s ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Perhaps it was a Kindle issue and there were errors in the formatting. Crabtree's writing often didn't flow, and he was a bit too repetitive in trying to make sure we understood what he WASN'T saying. I'm sure he was trying to ward off critics ahead of time, but his efforts were a bit frustrating. Some of his suggestions and assertions didn't sit well with me, but I'd have to reflect more on why, and perhaps just read this one again. In spite of these ...more
This is a book for everyone. Whether you are a husband, wife, parent, boss, employee, etc., this book offers us help in an area that I think we all need some help, if we're honest. Before reading this book, I always thought of affirmation as simply encouraging or building another person up. In that way, a compliment would be affirmation. However, Sam Crabtree really stretched me to not simply commend others, but to help others see how that which is commendable in them finds its source in God. Hi ...more
Wonderful book. For me it eliminated a dichotomy between praising people and a robust God-centered, Gospel-driven trajectory. It also helped clear up the difference between affirmation and flattery and the manipulative sandwich method of correction.

This was a wonderful eye-opener for me, an area of weakness in my ministry and family leadership. I hope, by God's grace to grow in seeing and verbalizing sightings of Jesus in others. Very practical and helpful!
Will Pareja
"Affirmation of a recognized quality in a human hints at a real quality in God who stands behind it" (p. 30).
A round of applause to any executive pastor who has time to write a book let alone a book like this. Crabtree really unpacks an aspect of communication that could could give life to all kinds of relationships. This could almost pass for a counseling book or the positive sequel to Paul Tripp's book War of Words.
Theologically, Crabtree roots the practice of affirmative communication in co
It's super cliche to say that a book changed your life, but this book changed my life. Crabtree gives a fairly dense, theologically rigorous look at how we can affirm in a godly way those who are not God. And yet, he does it with so much application and for the most part is really easy to understand (though his grammatical structure at times is jarring).

I look forward to using these tips in all of my relationships: familial, professional, and otherwise. It has renewed a sense of hope in relatio
This book helped me grow in understanding the ways in which affirming the character of God in others can bring glory to God. It also helped encourage me to not grow weary in doing good - to keep using the gifts God has given me to build up The Body of Christ for His glory, and not be discouraged by the lack of immediate fruit. Chapters 1 and 6 were by far the most helpful for me.

"We are stewards of grace. Those who steward well should be commended for it, and God should be praised for giving the
Wow! Practicing Affirmation is a unique, profound little book! It's far from the usual pop psychology self-esteem stuff out there. Instead, Sam Crabtree encourages God-centered affirmation of others as a way to glorify God and deepen relationships.

I struggle with being negative and critical at times. Being affirming to others doesn't come naturally to me. And yet, as Pastor Crabtree points out, there is something of worth in everyone. Far from advocating man-centered flattery, he maintains that
"When our mouths are empty of praise for others, it is probably because our hearts are full of love for self." John Piper

This book is not a bunch of psycho babble, it is carefully thought out, biblical, christ affirming observations about the desire of God that we affirm one another. Prov 11:25, 12:25 and what will happen if you do or do not.

Mr. Crabtree starts out going thru the bible making the point that God along with others affirm many people through out the scripture and that we should do
Es gibt nicht viele Bücher, die mich vom Hocker hauen. Dies ist eines. Nicht weil es so gut geschrieben wäre, sondern weil es einige meiner Denk- und Handlungsweisen so radikal in Frage stellt.
Im Wesentlichen geht es Sam Crabtree darum, dass wir lernen und üben, das, was vom Bild Gottes in anderen Menschen sichtbar wird, zu bestätigen und zu loben. Und er meint, mit etwas Aufmerksamkeit werden wir immer etwas finden.
Theologischer Ausgangspunkt ist der Begriff der "allgemeinen Gnade", die Gott al
Affirmation is a Godly way to express love to others. To share with them the qualities of Christ that is working in them. God is glorified in us when we affirm the work he has done and is doing others. Book is wonderful resource of what Godly affirmation is and is not. It gives wonderful word pictures of what it looks like and how we can apply it to those we love. It makes you think and act on what you observe in others. With each of us made in the image of God is praise in itself. I want to be ...more
Josh Skinner
One of my favorite books ever is Desiring God, by John Piper. That book was one of, if not the, first books I read that dealt explicitly with the idols of my life. One of the idols it dealt with was an unhealthy desire of approval from others and the damnable practice of worshipping anything other than God. Due to my own limitations and sinful tendencies, I took the truths presented in the book and swung to an extreme. Not wanting to seek man’s approval over God’s, I became almost incapable of r ...more
Amy Kannel
I think this could have gotten more stars if it was about half its current length. I'm not usually one to get easily bored with nonfiction books, though I know many people find them to be needlessly repetitive, but this one definitely was. It seems that the author has gotten a TON of resistance to this topic and his arguments, because he kept repeating argument after argument about why affirmation is necessary, how it's rooted in Scripture, how to mitigate the pitfalls, etc. He has a strong case ...more
Becca Kennedy
I wanted to love this book and to be encouraged in affirming those around me. Instead I found myself frustrated on every page. The book seems to champion affirmation predominately as a means of making correction more palatable to those around you. I think affirmation should be about calling out good in others. Why do we need to be convinced to affirm because of what it will do for us? Incredibly disappointed in this book that seems to fail to see the beauty of affirmation and focuses on our beha ...more
Ellie Benson
The book Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree is a very practical guide to Gospel centered affirmation. The title might make you believe that this is some sort of how-to manual or self-help guide but it is more about showing how Jesus affirms us and how we should affirm others in the church, our homes and beyond. There is a very useful list in the back to to help brainstorm ways to affirm others if you are having a hard time doing so and can't break that mold. I am cynical and critical by natu ...more
Good book, poorly written. The author's done commendable, thorough, diligent work reminding parents, spouses, friends, and bosses how powerful affirmation can be.

The basic point is that we must always be on the lookout for ways to affirm all people in ways they reflect the image of God (cf., Chapter 7 - Sightings of Jesus). For those who struggle with this, the author provides a plethora of practical ways to accomplish this, e.g., Chapter 10 - "100 Affirmation Ideas for Those Who Feel Stuck."

Feels awkward in writing a bad review about a book on Affirmation! I really enjoyed some of the things Sam wrote, but have a difficult time with his premise that God is angry at people (pg. 21) when scripture paints a picture of a long suffering God who is slow to anger. Won't recommend this book.
I REALLY needed to read this book. Crabtree makes a great case for building others up by noticing and then affirming displayed Christ-like qualities, even in those who don't follow Jesus. His arguments are very persuasive and biblically faithful. Crabtree encourages the reader to have a "heart actively on the lookout for the image of God in others." He cautions against being vague and/or flattering in one's compliments to others, but instead encourages the reader to name the Christ-like quality ...more
It was a quick read, but lots of really helpful ideas and things to think about. It has created good conversation for my wife and I and hopefully actions as well. It has also driven me to think about relationships with my daughters, ministry teams and others and what I communicate.

Crabtree's writing style is sometimes awkward, especially some illustrations (comparing good intentions to removing George Washington's blood?). It wasn't enough to detract from the overall message of the book. I also
Sara McAllister
Sam Crabtree gives a good, Biblical, perspective on the importance of affirmation in our relationships. Not only is affirmation important, it's something we're called to do as Christians; to point out the good and to encourage one another in our walks with God. This is a topic that's been written about in countless self-help books but Crabtree makes an important distinction between practicing habitual Biblical affirmation and a sort of self-esteem gospel that feeds on people's pride. This distin ...more
Peter Narloch
This is a well balanced piece of writing on the topic of affirmation. I have been encouraged and motivated to pick up my game with regards to affirming Godly character around me.
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Reformed Readers: Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree 3 13 Mar 12, 2013 07:07AM  
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“The point of being created in the image of God is that human beings are destined to display God.That’s what images do.And the point of being redeemed by Jesus, and renewed after the image of our Creator, is to recover this destiny.” 2 likes
“God is glorified in us when we affirm the work he has done and is doing in others.” 1 likes
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