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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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  599 ratings  ·  111 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 rated it liked it
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,
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
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
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
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 book wo ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It has encouraged me to want to look for the good in others and affirm that. We don't want to offer empty affirmations aka flattery, but instead take the time to really notice God at work in others lives, even non believers- for even they experience the common grace that God offers. This book made me reflect on the words that I speak; am I affirming others (spouse, kids, family, friends) or criticizing? Highly recommend this. I believe it could be life changing for a ma ...more
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Lauren Fee
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
God used this book to really put his thumbprint on an area of my sanctification that needs to be changed to reflect more of Christ--affirmation. I could go back in my story and assign blame on why I struggle with this, but I believe it really comes back to the fall, especially in my own marriage. I withhold affirmation in order to wield power over an area that I want to manipulate or change through criticism. Aside from this, I daily fail to give proper praise to others and ultimately to God for ...more
Ryan Trzeciak
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Affirmation is the key to good relationships. This is the theme of Crabtree’s book. Not that affirmation is the only thing that makes relationships good, but that affirmation is the entry point. Much like your house key gives you access to your house and all the good things there in, affirmation gives you access to all the enjoyment of a good relationship. What does he mean by affirmation? It is commending the commendable, being on the lookout for Christlikeness and godly characteristics in othe ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very practical and Scripturally-sound. I found myself in my everyday life recalling sections and looking for specific ways in which to affirm those around me in order to point back to their Creator. It led me in a VERY healthy practice for my relational life. I think there were a few points where I felt the message was clear a little sooner than the chapter ended (i.e. it dragged on a bit) but in all I recommend it highly! Particularly for someone hoping to grow in Words of Affirmation (I know I ...more
Tiffany Martin
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breath of fresh air

This has been such a delight to read. He gives practical application for concepts covered and uplifts the reader along the way. I am already reaping the benefits of applications of these ideas! Answer to prayer.
Amber Thiessen
This is a wonderful book on an important topic, that -I’ll confess - I don’t think I ever really learned well. So, no more excuses after reading this book, to affirm people, because we’re created in His image and it means paying attention.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short, but helpful read on affirming others in a way that point to Christ's work in their lives. "Affirmation is truthfully declaring by complimentary word or action the goodness of something. Good affirmation attests, certifies, or confirms that which honors God." ...more
Joshua D.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Brian Pate
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Short, simple and practical read on the biblical call to affirm the people in our lives - believers and non-believers alike. Because all of God's creation echoes Him as our Creator in some way, there are always good and praiseworthy qualities to be found in others. Crabtree's intent in this book, though, is to challenge readers to not settle for surface affirmations (such as "your hair looks nice") or overly general affirmations (such as "good job!") - while these kind of affirmations are not "b ...more
David Morris
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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!
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Craig Huggart
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great content. Definitely worth at least skimming. For me, it just took too many words to make the point. I do thank God for the author and am making a point to be more affirming.
Corby H
An easy read that has been practical and encouraging.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living, mom, own
My husband used to tell me that I ought to purchase books printed on yellow paper in order to save the highlighter. I have since resorted to marking books with pens or pencils so that I can write notes liberally in the margins as thoughts or questions arise. However, Practicing Affirmation is a book that could easily have been printed on yellow paper. I marked almost every page of this book (most often in hearty agreement with the author ;). With endorsements by John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, and Nan ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-200-reads
This is an excellent book, a bit redundant, but full of very thoughtful counsel about an area that many of us do not specialize in: Affirmation. It's easy to criticize. It's easy to nit-pick and find faults. But rare is the person whose life is defined by biblical affirmation of others. Who doesn't want to be affirmed? It would seem that the norm for humankind is a desire to experience such. Sure, that desire often runs amuk and creates within a person a heart idolatry where they begin to live f ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
Affirmation is a concept of which I don’t give much thought. I would like to think of myself as an overall positive person, but of course I don’t stay that way consistently and often struggle with seeing the good in people, especially difficult people. So when I stumbled across this book, I decided it would steer me towards a better path of affirming people in Christ’s love.

There were a few points that I was not sure if I agreed with Sam Crabtree or not, yet I still recommend this book as it did
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Affirmation: "truthfully declaring by complimentary word or action the goodness of something. Good affirmation attests, certifies, or confirms that which honors God, what which is morally upright" (1817).

Crabtree interacts with some of the Christian ideas about withholding saying good things about nonbelievers and what they do, arguing that this is
great misunderstanding of common grace and diminishes the glory we can atttribute to God AND allow us to interact in helpful ways with unbelievers. H
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I bought this as my yearly enrichment book because it's an area in which I need to grow. This is a quick, practical read that really ought to be revisited frequently, although certain chapters could be skipped on a second reading; i.e., I don't need to be convinced of the importance of affirmation--I'm a human being who appreciates it as much as the next person and a Christian who desires to honor God. I think I can tell flattery or empty praise from affirmation, but I did appreciate the chapter ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great book on affirmation, very clear on what it is and what it is not, how to do and practice it in a way that honors and pleases God, and a useful list of wonderful ideas/suggestions.

The writing is not one of the best. But because the message is really well presented while the topic is often overlooked, the writing was ok and the content was great! I have enjoyed and been challenged by it very much.

I would recommend it to people who have doubts on the power of affirmation(most likely need
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a helpful and practical book on how to affirm people while glorifying God. It's a short book, but there were sections that seemed too wordy. One chapter had 100 ideas for affirmation. He said the list can be summed up by saying "notice and verbalized" which is also an apt summary for the book.

I often do not practice affirmation and I can overthink it, but it doesn't have to be complicated. This book clarified that for me and gave me some theological clarity on how to practically affirm
Elizabeth Gambeski
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
i found the insights in chapters 3 and 4 (Key to Refreshing Relationships: The Simplicity and Toward Greater Refreshment: The Complexity) to be very helpful in understanding the author’s thesis about the importance of affirmation. the list of 100 affirmation ideas was also helpful. the other chapters seemed to have a focus on opponents of affirmation or doubts and disagreements that readers might have with the author’s view. i feel these sections could have been incorporated in such a way that t ...more
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Reformed Readers: Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree 3 14 Mar 12, 2013 07:07AM  

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Sam Crabtree (MEd, South Dakota State) is a pastor at the Mounds View campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a former public school teacher and has served at Bethlehem Baptist Church since 1997. He serves as the board chairman for Bethlehem College & Seminary and a board officer for Sam and his wife, Vicki, live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have two ...more

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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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.” 2 likes
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