Archive for September 4, 2012

Sep 4

Practicing Affirmation and Growing the Church

2012 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Gospel

In Sunday’s sermon, “Jesus’ Plan for Your Growth,” Ryan unpacked Ephesians 4:1-16, one of the New Testament’s most intricate and beautiful passages on the nature of the church and its growth. Verses 1-3, which concern our shared calling and attitude together, reach into every one of our relationships with rich application:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

To help all of us better reflect this spirit, Ryan mentioned a book by Sam Crabtree, titled, Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise to Those Who Are Not God. The book is about exactly what it sounds like: using our words to affirm the good we see in others. This is an important book for the home, for the work place, and certainly for the church.

Here are some helpful quotes to whet your appetite:

“God is glorified in us when we affirm the work he has done and is doing in others.”

“To fail to commend the character of Christ in people is to fall into the same lackluster indifference of a person who never exclaims what a beautiful morning it is, thereby robbing the Creator of glory he deserves for making that sky, that volcano, that character.”

“Good affirmations are God-centered, pointing to the image of God in a person.”

“When our mouths are empty of praise for others, it is probably because our hearts are full of love for self.”

“The affirmation ratio is at work, even when your rationale for making the corrections you are making is completely justified. The dynamics in play don’t go away just because you have taken the right position on the issue.”

“We must leave room in our thinking for the possibility of being pleased with someone, yet without being satisfied entirely.”

“Salvation will not happen in the absence of preaching, but salvation is not guaranteed in the presence of preaching. Similarly, affirming people will save no one. But lack of affirmation may bring hindrances and obstacles into play,making it less likely that they will give the gospel a hearing, especially when the good news comes from someone who is predominantly bad news.”

“It was a sandwich all right, and he boasted about his method, but his employees began to call it the baloney sandwich. Let affirmations stand alone, separated from correction.”

“It seems easier to practice affirmation early in relationships, and it can get harder later. Have you ever noticed in a restaurant that some couples are talkative and some are not? What happened? Generally, new relationships are still predominately affirming, but as relationships endure the years, they also endure a lot of correction. More specifically, affirmation didn’t keep up. Not enough affirmation was dished out compared with all the other.”

“This is where we get in trouble: affirmations tend to evaporate over time. Meanwhile, corrections keep piling up. Corrections tend to out-number affirmations, and by doing so, corrections sabotage or undercut the value of affirmations.”

“The absence of affirmation for God’s handiwork in his people is also a kind of sacrilege . . . It is disobedience to God’s command: ‘A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised’ (Prov. 31:30).”

“A fire not stoked goes out. A refrigerator unplugged rots the eggs, which were perfectly good not too long ago.A garden not tended erupts with weeds,not vegetables. Affirmation is the fire-stoking,refrigerator-electrifying, garden-tending side of relationships.”

Buy Practicing Affirmation online here, or pick up or order a copy at our newly revamped Resource Center starting Sunday, September 16.