Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God by Michael E. Wittmer
The best book helping us to develop a Christian worldview I’ve read in years. An insightful biblical analysis on the Image of God and how that effects who we are and what we are called to be.
Wittmer (Professor of Theology at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary and Director of the Seminary's Center for Christian Worldview) makes the case that our lives in the HERE and NOW is a calling to fulfill who we are as God's image-bearers. He also reminds us that we are designed for EARTHLY existence, not heavenly existence (in other words, Wittmer calls out our pseudo-Gnosticism that puts our hope in an ethereal heaven, and argues for the "goodness" of the earthly creation and the fact that humans are created for life on Earth. Earth is where we are put, and Earth is where we will always be (when Christ comes back, we will forever be where He is--and He will be here!)
This book is very practical, urging us to ask what it means to be fully human, what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ, and how our vocation to follow His Lordship in all things shapes our lives here and now. Our eternal hope puts us back into the creation, in order to take up the three mandates of the Imago Dei—(1) to reflect God back to God through our worship, (2) to reflect God out to others through our loving relationships, and (3) to reflect God in the culture/creation through our working for His glory.
To see a chart based on his book, check out Imago Dei, The Image of God in Man
The rest of the Top 5 Books I Read in 2004
(#1) Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God by Michael E. Wittmer
(#2) Reimagining Spiritual Formation: A Week in the Life of an Experimental Church by Doug Pagitt
(#3) Finding Faith by Brian McLaren
(#4) Mustard Seed Versus McWorld: Reinventing Life and Faith for the Future by Tom Sine
(#5) The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups by Joseph R. Myers
Best Lecture from 2004:
Creation & New Creation in the New Testament by N.T. Wright by NT Wright