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Practicing Affirmation Sam Crabtree all rights reserved.

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1 Practicing Affirmation Sam Crabtree all rights reserved

2 Practicing Affirmation

3 3 x 5… The most eye-opening thing you have discovered in your years as a counselor… Practicing Affirmation

4 Practicing Affirmation

5 Session 1 Affirmation: The Problem and Opportunity for Every Person The Pervasive, Universal, Non-optional Mechanism That God Has Wired Into the Universe Practicing Affirmation

6 Practicing Affirmation God-centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God

7 Practicing affirmation is not about self-esteem. It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

8 Jails are overrun with people who have plenty of self-esteem. So are asylums. (Chesterton) Practicing Affirmation

9 Folly and sin conspire to make us desire to be made much of, thinking that we deserve to be loved. This is idolatrous and deadly. It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

10 Practicing affirmation is not about self-esteem. It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

11 You are not the author of your story. Your story isn’t mainly about you. Practicing Affirmation

12 A key is not the main thing, but it is a crucial thing. Practicing Affirmation

13 Affirmation is not optional. That is, doing it and not doing it both produce an effect. They do not produce the same effect. Practicing Affirmation

14 A fire not stoked goes out. A refrigerator unplugged rots the eggs. A garden not tended produces weeds, not vegetables. Practicing Affirmation

15 Affirmation is the fire-stoking, refrigerator-electrifying, garden-tending aspect of relationships. It is not optional. Practicing Affirmation

16 The principles of affirmation apply universally to all human relationships… …including your relationship with God. Practicing Affirmation

17 Mistake: failing to grasp the connection between lack of affirmation and one’s own reputation. Practicing Affirmation

18 Practicing Affirmation The Mercy of the Lord to You in Affirming Others

19 2Timothy 1:16-18 The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me – the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day – and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus. Practicing Affirmation

20 Unless physiologically driven, depression is a signal that something in my life has become more important than God. Depressed persons need mercy. Refreshing others (including affirmations) introduces mercy. (see p54) 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

21 Romans 15:2-3 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." Practicing Affirmation

22 The Affirmation Ratio presupposes things like: God sovereignly brings about ends through means. Believers are dependent upon the Spirit. Love affirms; love also corrects. Everything can’t be said in one seminar. Practicing Affirmation

23 The Affirmation Ratio presupposes things like: Our behavior does not save us. Jesus alone is our justification. The root of every sin is idolatry. Idolatry is a failure to look to Jesus alone. Idols thwarted bring discouragement, anger, anxiety, etc. So don’t make practicing affirmation an idol. Practicing Affirmation

24 Proverbs 11:25 He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. It is the law of the harvest. Caution: God (not others) is the ultimate source of our refreshment. Practicing Affirmation

25 Matthew 10:42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. God rewards us when we refresh others. Practicing Affirmation

26 Caution: Self-interest is not selfishness. Though we benefit from refreshing others, the refreshment is theirs and is to be real refreshment. Romans 15:2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. Practicing Affirmation

27 “Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.” Bion of Borysthenes (Greek philosopher) Practicing Affirmation

28 Sustain the Weary With a God-given Tongue Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Practicing Affirmation

29 Peanuts Cartoon (removed for copyright reasons) Practicing Affirmation

30 Affirmation Ratio Correction 1. Stop hearing the correction 2. Stop hearing you 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

31 Practicing Affirmation insufficient affirmation plenty of healthy affirmation Natural winds blow to the left. Correction accelerates that wind. Practicing affirmation is non-optional.

32 Affirmation Ratio Correction 1. Stop hearing the correction 2. Stop hearing you 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

33 Affirmation Ratio Correction Consider it like a checking account. Practicing Affirmation

34 Affirmation Ratio This is about earning the right to be heard, gaining a hearing. People are influenced by those who praise them. Practicing Affirmation

35 Gang behavior Practicing Affirmation

36 Affirmation Ratio You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

37 “We readily believe those whom we know to be desirous of our welfare.” John Calvin 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

38 Richard Baxter, Puritan writer: “They love those who best esteem them highest. “The faults of these admirers can be extenuated and easily forgiven…” [Isn’t that what you want? Forgiveness to flow?] “If you would have his favor, let him hear that you have magnified him behind his back and that you honor him.” 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

39 C.S. Lewis “When Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world… “We give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.” 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

40 Stop and pray… …for grace to practice affirmation. 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

41 Practicing Affirmation

42 Session 2 The God-centeredness of Good Affirmation Biblical Warrant for God-centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God Practicing Affirmation

43 Affirmation is the purpose of the universe… specifically, affirmation of God. Practicing Affirmation

44 The chief end of God is not to glorify man, but the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Practicing Affirmation

45 Isaiah 48:11 My glory I will not give to another. Problem: If all glory belongs to God, how can we commend those who are not God? Practicing Affirmation

46 Two ways to miss the mark: Idolatrous commendation Failing to commend the commendable (James 4:17): When Jesus says, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s,” he is not forbidding people to pay tribute to Caesar. Practicing Affirmation

47 No glory is stolen from God when: Daniel praises Nebuchadnezzar Daniel honors Darius Gabriel singles out Mary The writer of Hebrews commends Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, the martyrs. Practicing Affirmation

48 Daniel 2:37-38 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all- Practicing Affirmation

49 No glory is stolen from God when: Daniel praises Nebuchadnezzar Daniel honors Darius Gabriel singles out Mary The writer of Hebrews commends Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, the martyrs. Practicing Affirmation

50 No glory is stolen from God when: He himself affirms Noah (righteous) Pharaoh affirms Joseph (wise) Boaz commends Ruth (worthy, virtuous) Saul commends David (better than he) Achish affirms David (blameless) The woman praises Elijah (godly, truthful) The centurion values his servant Paul commends Phoebe (servant heart) Practicing Affirmation

51 Jesus commends: His disciples as salt and light His listeners as better than many sparrows The woman of great faith The woman of ill repute The faith of the centurion John with superlatives The generosity of the widow Nathaniel for lack of hypocrisy Practicing Affirmation

52 John 8:1-11 (the woman caught in adultery) Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. Practicing Affirmation

53 God is at work everywhere. See it. Affirm it. Practicing Affirmation

54 The gospel of the God who is at work is not merely something to look at, but a way of looking. Practicing Affirmation

55 What is affirmation? Affirmation commends the past. Encouragement pleads for a future. Practicing Affirmation

56 What is affirmation? Truthfully declaring by complimentary word or action the goodness of something or someone. All good affirmation attests or confirms that which honors God, that which is morally upright. Practicing Affirmation

57 Therefore, to affirm people well, we must learn to affirm God, the source of every good thing to be affirmed in people. Practicing Affirmation

58 How can you praise a mere human in a God-centered way? Commend the character of Christ in them. Practicing Affirmation

59 Salvation is not in a code, but in a person. So it is with character. Practicing Affirmation

60 To be on the lookout for what is truly commendable in people, we must see what is commendable in God. Everything commendable is rooted in Jesus. What’s so good about him? Practicing Affirmation

61 Truthfulness Obedience Boldness Forgiveness Alertness Hospitality Generosity Flexibility Availability Endurance Self-control Diligence Thoroughness Dependability Patience Wisdom Love Creativity Gratefulness Orderliness Practicing Affirmation

62 Initiative Responsibility Humility Decisiveness Determination Attentiveness Justice Compassion Gentleness Practicing Affirmation

63 The chief end of man is to glorify God. The chief end of God is to glorify God. Practicing Affirmation

64 Jesus is on a mission to receive praise, even if he has to get it from rocks. Practicing Affirmation

65 Meanwhile, the Father is so passionate for his Son to receive praise, that his Son’s praiseworthiness reverberates in, through, and from those who resemble him. The more we resemble him, the more of him is displayed, and the more honor he receives. Practicing Affirmation

66 The praising of people does not preclude the praising of God, if the people are commended ultimately for his glory. Practicing Affirmation

67 God is glorified in us when we affirm the work he has done and is doing in others. Practicing Affirmation

68 Stop and write… … a note of affirmation to someone difficult to affirm. Stop and pray… …for your speaker to not be a hypocrite at practicing affirmation. 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

69 Practicing Affirmation

70 Session 3 Helping People Get Good at Affirmation Nuances and Guardrails to maximize Fruitfulness and Avoid Regret Practicing Affirmation

71 Gain a reputation: give so many affirmations as a consistent pattern, as a way of life, that you gain a reputation for it. What reputation do I want?  Mr. Crabby Pants?  Old Lady Battle-axe?  Miss Nit Pick?  Barnabas, son of encouragement. Practicing Affirmation

72 What is your… …name? Practicing Affirmation

73 Generally, our failure to affirm others is not rooted in them, but in us. Wayne Practicing Affirmation

74 Affirmation is powerful. Fourteen year old Eleven year old Pig farmer’s wife Moratorium Practicing Affirmation

75 This is an advance alert: Later today we will ask for testimonials of how you have personally seen the practice of affirmation make a difference. Practicing Affirmation

76 We will become profoundly ineffective in our relationships if we have squandered a hearing, alienated our listeners, turned them off to us… Practicing Affirmation

77 Even if we… are right, not wrong possess the jurisdiction, the right, even the responsibility to say something apply wise and loving rationale have good motives love the person deeply have exactly the right wording and tone… Practicing Affirmation

78 The people around us are likely to stop hearing us over time if we don’t practice affirmation toward them… Practicing Affirmation

79 Even if he understands… the psychology of human development the biblical theology of man and sin management best practices the difference between right and wrong. Practicing Affirmation

80 …the people around him are likely to stop hearing him over time if he doesn’t practice affirmation toward them. Practicing Affirmation

81 Practicing Affirmation Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

82 Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Practicing Affirmation

83 Effective affirmations are : unattached to correction steady diet honest 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

84 Caution regarding honesty: while “faint praise is damning,” exaggerated praise is false. Practicing Affirmation

85 Effective affirmations are: unattached to correction steady diet honest God-centered Practicing Affirmation

86 Echoing the character qualities of Jesus does not save/justify us. Jesus saves/justifies us. Luke 18:9-14 Practicing Affirmation

87 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

88 In Luke 18 Jesus is speaking to people who: Talk about God Think they know how to be right with God. Note: he speaks not about them, but to them. It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

89 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

90 He spoke to whom? It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

91 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

92 Remarkably, the Pharisee not only… avoids immoral behaviors, and practices good spiritual disciplines, but… … gives God the credit! It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

93 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

94 As far as we know, the Pharisee might have believed: my past sins were wicked indeed. in the total sovereignty of God. not I, but the grace of God has produced this righteousness. It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

95 His mistake is that he trusted the wrong: thing basis ground righteousness person It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

96 The God-produced righteousness that the Pharisee trusted was: his own. And that was his mistake. He was dead wrong. It is about esteeming the work of God in the lives of people. Practicing Affirmation

97 Jesus is teaching us that no matter: how morally upright we are how religiously devout how aware we are that God produced our moral appetites and behaviors how much we thank God for them …those things are not the basis of our justification before God. That is not how we are accepted. Practicing Affirmation

98 The issue is: are we looking totally away from self? Look to Jesus alone. The tax collector looks away from his own works to the work of God. Practicing Affirmation

99 The issue is: are we looking totally away from self? Look to Jesus alone. The tax collector looks away from his own works to the work of God. Practicing Affirmation

100 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

101 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

102 Four very sobering words: Practicing Affirmation

103 Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Practicing Affirmation

104 To repeat: Echoing the character qualities of Jesus does not save/justify us. Jesus saves/justifies us. Practicing Affirmation

105 Even though many relationships fall into trouble over exacting standards, this is not about lowering standards. It is about commending incremental progress toward those standards, all by grace. Practicing Affirmation

106 Stop and pray… …for grace to forgive and bless those who have not affirmed you as they should have. 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

107 Practicing Affirmation

108 Session 4 Practical Applications of Affirmation Beyond Good Intentions to Joyful, Healthy Relational Patterns Practicing Affirmation

109 Let’s practice affirmation… Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father There is no shadow of turning with Thee Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not As Thou has been Thou forever wilt be Great is Thy faithfulness Great is Thy faithfulness Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me ositional Practicing Affirmation

110 Let’s practice affirmation… Summer and winter and springtime and harvest Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above Join with nature in manifold witness To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love Great is Thy faithfulness Great is Thy faithfulness Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me ositional Practicing Affirmation

111 Let’s practice affirmation… Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside Great is Thy faithfulness Great is Thy faithfulness Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me ositional Practicing Affirmation

112 The rudimentary desire to be commended is not wrong. We should all desire to be praised… …by God himself! Practicing Affirmation

113 The rudimentary desire to be commended is not wrong. We should all desire to be praised… …by God himself! Practicing Affirmation

114 1Corinthians 4:5 …then each one will receive his commendation from God. Practicing Affirmation

115 To not want to be loved by God and affirmed by God is to be faithless, to expect God to act like something other than God. Practicing Affirmation

116 It is not wrong to desire… To be noticed, if we are letting our light so shine that when people see our good works they glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) Practicing Affirmation

117 It is not wrong to desire… To avoid someone’s anger, if you are not cowardly, but are courageously and faithfully leaving vengeance to the wrath of God. (Romans 12:18-19) Practicing Affirmation

118 It is not wrong to desire… To be well thought of, if we are approved of God. (Romans 14:18) Practicing Affirmation

119 It is not wrong to desire… To receive recognition, if we are recognized for having genuine faith. (1Corinthians 11:19) Practicing Affirmation

120 It is not wrong to desire… To feel important, if we recognize we are making an important difference as instruments in the Redeemer’s hands. (1Corinthians 15:10) Practicing Affirmation

121 It is not wrong to desire… To be respected, if we are respected for fulfilling our God-given office in God-given strength. (2Corinthians 8:16) Practicing Affirmation

122 It is not wrong to desire… To avoid conflict, if our peacemaking is not at the expense of principle. (2Corinthians 13:10-11) Practicing Affirmation

123 It is not wrong to desire… To be looked up to, if we are esteemed highly because of our work in the Lord. (1Thessalonians 5:12-13) Practicing Affirmation

124 It is not wrong to desire… To have a good reputation, if our good name (which is better than great riches) reflects THE Name. (2Corinthians 1:10-12) Practicing Affirmation

125 It is not wrong to desire… To enjoy friendship, if friendship is first and foremost with God and all other relationships are for God. (Hebrews 6:10-12) Practicing Affirmation

126 It is not wrong to desire… To be praised. That desire is perverted when it seeks to be praised for wrong things, or to be elevated above the glory of God. Practicing Affirmation

127 Affirmations are one form of blessing. To bless is our calling. 1Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. Practicing Affirmation

128 Affirmation is not the same as: blessing flattery building self-esteem encouragement Practicing Affirmation

129 Affirming others: Earns you the right to make suggestions. Gives energy to people. Lifts morale. Makes you easier to live with. Requires you to look at people positively. Constructively uses time that could have been wasted complaining. Practicing Affirmation

130 Geese fly in formation and honk. Skunks travel alone. Practicing Affirmation

131 “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Charles Dudley Warner Practicing Affirmation

132 Languages of Love gifts affectionate touch time acts of service words of affirmation. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

133 Earlier we gave you an advance alert. Who has a testimonial of how the practice of affirmation has made a difference? Practicing Affirmation

134 Steps in helping others get good at practicing affirmation: Pray for it (right now). Model it; refine skill (practice affirmation). Talk about it. Reward it. Practicing Affirmation

135 Paul had much to correct in the Corinthians: serious doctrinal error divisions a form of immorality they were a lawsuit-happy bunch problematic corporate gatherings misunderstanding and misuse of gifts broad opposition to Paul himself Practicing Affirmation

136 And yet… in his opening lines he tells them: “I give thanks to my God always for you.” Why? “Because of the grace of God that was given you in Jesus Christ.” Practicing Affirmation

137 Stop and pray… …by name for those you would like God to help grow in practicing affirmation. 3. Oppositional Practicing Affirmation

138 Practicing Affirmation


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