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

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  135 ratings  ·  41 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...more
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,...more
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.
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...more
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...more
Feb 08, 2014 Rita rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rita by: Stephen Gambill
Shelves: christianity
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.
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
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...more
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
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...more
"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...more
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...more
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
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...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
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."

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
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...more
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
Enjoyable. I learned some examples of when to show affirmations and why it is important. Appreciated it! Excited to put it into practice with everyone around me.
This simple book has helped shape who I am. Very thankful for its impact on my parenting and my marriage.
Michael Combs
Has a great resource in the back of the book with over 100 ways to practice what you just heard preach.
Do all things for the edification, the building up of others. Easier said than done! This book is a must read for most of us who spend much of our day criticizing and complaining (so called "discerning"). Affirmation is more than a feel-good, stay-positive message, but a biblical discipline held up personally in Barnabas, a son of encouragement. Men in positions of leadership and discipleship will especially benefit from this book. It is nuanced and touches on the pitfall of flattery and the nee...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!
Valerie Kyriosity
This was good and useful. The temptation was to think of 37 other people who could stand to add affirmation to their repertoire, which of course was confirmation of how much I needed to add it to mine. I thought the book could have been shorter -- a longish article could have hit the main points effectively enough -- but I suppose that could be said of most books, and of course the problem might be my Internet-ruined attention sp...squirrel!.
A great premise and even better practice. This is a must read for everyone in leadership or for everyone that needs to deal with people, for anyone for that matter. Sam Crabtree gives very practical suggestions with a very humble and gentle spirit that will empower you to speak peace and courage to those around you and to yourself as well. This is a practical way to win friends and influence people on the highest level of human functioning.
Laurel Smith
Great message! Extremely helpful way to encourage positive relationships through the gospel. However, I felt like I could have read the first two chapters and been done. The main points are thoroughly explained at the beginning and the rest is more situational, full of examples which could be helpful if someone hadn't grasped the idea at the beginning. Overall definitely worth reading though!!
Vince Wu
What is affirmation? How can you truly encourage one another? Can you correct a loved one and still be loving? All these questions and more are answered in Sam Crabtree's practical narrative and novel. Highly enjoyable and extremely useful to those who want to learn how to affirm their brothers and sisters, especially those who want to encourage one another in Christ.
David Barkey
This book is a must read for everyone who expects to make a difference at home, work or play. The author has put his finger on a major shortcoming in personal relationships. The book is full of practical counsel on how affirmation should and should not be communicated, how it can be used in correction and ways to implement affirmation in various situations.
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Reformed Readers: Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree 3 12 Mar 12, 2013 07:07AM  
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