In Practicing Affirmation, Sam Crabtree asserts that affirmation should be practiced by every Christian on a regular basis. The author begins the book by arguing for the importance of affirmation from both Christian and non-Christian perspectives. Crabtree points out that the Bible is replete with commands and examples of how encouraging words can be life-infusing and character-forming. Furthermore, he uses illustrations from his work and family to illustrate how praising noble attributes of those around him led to the increase of those attributes and greater rapport overall. Although the author promotes praise-giving, he is careful to point out that such encouragements are not intended to invoke feelings of self-satisfaction or pride but to help the receiver of the praise recognize how God is working in their lives to produce good fruit. Moreover, Crabtree points to common grace that God dispenses to non-believers to act in altruist ways as something that Christians should applaud while drawing attention to God as the source of true righteousness. Next, the author devotes the middle chapters of the book to defending the practice of affirmations against those who find encouraging words to be manipulative, insincere, or ineffective. To these arguments, the author firmly advocates that timely, authentic praise reinforce what is positive in others as appropriate and helpful so long as God is the One who receives the ultimate praise. In the closing chapters, Crabtree discusses how constructive praise that is God-honouring can be given effectively. In addition, the author provides a list of pragmatic steps and applications on how to encourage those in our homes, workplaces, and church.
I would recommend this book to all Christians as we are warned repeatedly in Scripture that the tongue in an incessant fountain of evil that poisons everything and everyone near and far. By observing and praising the commendable actions of those around us, we learn to tame our tongues by identifying how God is working in others to display His attributes in tangible ways. Moreover, by taking note of exemplary characteristics and actions in those around us, we grow in our own sanctification as we strive to put on these virtues in our own lives. Crabtree offers a balanced approach in urging readers to find the praiseworthy aspects of others’ words, behaviour, or actions but ensuring that God is the One who is ultimately glorified.
In Worship, A.W. Tozer challenges Christians to reconsider what it means to worship the triune God who created humans to glorify and enjoy Him forever. This short book is a collection of writings and sermons that Tozer preached on the topic of worship over the decades of his ministry that are still applicable to believers today. There are several main ideas reiterated throughout the eleven sermons that summarize Tozer’s theology on worship. Firstly, Tozer reminds us that true worship is God’s calling for all those who have put their faith in Christ. Only those who have been purchased by Jesus’ blood and adopted into the family of God can lift up praises to their heavenly Father. Secondly, Tozer asserts that worship is a serious, reverent undertaking in which we humble ourselves in the presence of Him who is perfectly holy. Our worship is only acceptable to God in that we approach Him clothed in Christ’s righteousness and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Believers should be keenly aware of their unworthiness apart from Christ as we eagerly draw near to the Fountainhead of all blessings and righteousness. Thirdly, Tozer points out that worship is a Spirit-filled, passionate exercise that involves all our affections as we offer our heads, hearts, and hands to the One who is worthy of all praise and honour. Lastly, Tozer urges Christians to commit every part and moment of their lives to worship God and extol His excellencies. It is dangerous and unbiblical to compartmentalize our lives by only committing a specific day, time, or aspect of our lives to worship our King.
I would highly recommend this book to all believers as the subject of worship is vitally important to the Christian life. Many of us approach worship as a joyless duty that we must do on Sundays as we continue to breed feelings of apathy and indifference. When we harbour such irreverent attitudes towards worship, we are being unfaithful to our call as Christians who have been saved by the boundless mercy, grace, and love, of God. Moreover, we are abdicating the precious privileges and blessings of worship made available through Christ who gave His life to bring us into God’s presence. Readers of this book will find Tozer’s encouragements and warnings invaluable in spurring us to worship God in awe, reverence, and joy.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.
“We have a craving for glory because we were made to image God’s glory. We have a craving for gladness because we were made to enjoy the glory we image. This is what it means to be human. This is who we are.”
Jonathan Parnell in Never Settle for Normal
“Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man’s conscience; and therefore a soul truly penitent strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labor to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all sins.”
Thomas Brooks in Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices
“But if our destiny is to become what we are in Christ, what does it matter what we think? Is our transformation not inevitable? What do these detailed doctrinal implications really do for us? Well, simply put, what we believe concerning doctrine determines the way we respond to God, his church, and this world, which in its present system is marked out for destruction.
Doctrine matters when you’re reading the news and can’t stop weeping. It matters when your neighbor tells you she’s pregnant, and the next time you see her, she says, ‘I took care of the problem.’ It matters when your husband comes home from the office early with a cardboard box full of his pictures and lunch dishes from work. It matters when you’re facing another evening of free time and you feel restless. It matters when your prayers are answered and a door to share your faith swings wide open. When your new medication doesn’t do anything; when you get a raise; when your laptop crashes; when you are shopping at the grocery store; when your child rolls his eyes at you; when you’re laughing so hard your face hurts; and when you get a phone call you never thought you’d receive. In every moment of life, doctrine matters. From the global concerns that affect everyone on this planet to the minutiae of our vaporous lives, doctrine matters.”
Gloria Furman in Alive in Him
“Just as we may not think of Genesis 3 (with its focus on sin) as a passage about discontentment, we may also fail to see conversion as a declaration of our contentment in God. But what else could it mean? We are certainly not saying that when we become Christians, we now find our supreme, soul-settling joy in creation plus God. Conversion is not about adding Jesus to an already crowded shelf of idols. May it never be! Conversion is about sweeping clear the shelves of our heart and pledging supreme love and loyalty to God— and God alone.”
Erik Raymond in Chasing Contentment