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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Publication Date: 2011
Sam Crabtree is a pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he has served for over twenty years. He is a former public-school teacher and is chairman of the board of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He is the author of Practicing Affirmation. Sam and his wife, Vicki, live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have two daughters and six grandchildren.
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for thirty-three years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than fifty books, including Desiring God; Don’t Waste Your Life; This Momentary Marriage; A Peculiar Glory; and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
Right from the beginning, Crabtree understands the biases of Christian readers and uses Scripture to defend his thesis that affirmation is a required part of blessing one another. Some of the verses he quotes demonstrate the purpose of building each other up so that we will continue to love one another and do good for the Lords good name (see Heb. 10:24; 1 Cor. 14:26; Rom. 15:2; 1 Pet. 3:9).
Along the way, Crabtree gives pointers on proper motivation, what to affirm, responding to compliments, affirming unbelievers, and balancing it with correction. The importance of exercising affirmation becomes clear as our relationships take on a refreshing rather than demanding tone. By becoming the advocate of our children, our spouses, neighbors, and friends, we gain permission to speak to their hearts. Crabtree tells the story of strengthening the relationship with his 11-year-old daughter, saying, "I became a student of her," in order to find her God-honoring traits and communicate those to her (p. 57). He continues, "The aim is to glorify God by refreshing people as we help them to see God at work in their lives, moving them toward Christlikeness" (p. 69). And this is truly the point of the book.
Much like a letter written by Paul, Crabtree begins his book with doctrine and follows it closely with practical living. The first half of the book covers the "why" and "how" to properly affirm one another, which should be read slowly and thoughtfully. The second half moves much quicker, as he goes through a list of "Mistakes I Have Made," followed by anticipated questions and answers that further explain what godly affirmation looks like. He also wisely includes "100 Affirmation Ideas for Those Who Feel Stuck," which provides a very specific list of ways to commend coworkers, family, and even missionaries.
Practicing Affirmation is a brief, but powerful book that realigns a Christian's view of praise back to the healthy truth. It has encouraged me to be more aware and vocal about the work the Lord is doing in the lives around me, and I have heartily recommended it to my friends. As I do to you now, as well. Stacy Oliver, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com