His book Unchained is my fave nonfiction read so far in 2017, so I’m thrilled to have the chance to chat with Noel Jesse Heikkinen!
Noel Jesse Heikkinen is a pastor at Riverview Church, a multi-site church of over 3,000 near Lansing, Michigan. Heikkinen also helps lead the church planting ministry Acts 29 and is the chairman of the board for the mission agency Reliant. He and his wife, Grace, have four children.
Find out more about Noel Jesse at http://www.noeljesse.com.
His book, Unchained, released February 1st from David C. Cook.
Christians are free in Christ, yet Christianity can feel like a prison.
Unchained helps Christians who don’t feel that grace has changed their lives.
Often when people follow Jesus, they feel more guilty instead of more free. A powerful book for the spiritually restless, Unchained shows readers how to have a robust faith that celebrates their freedom in Christ without compromising their holiness as God’s followers.
Unchained turns to the person and work of Jesus Christ as the source of freedom-not just his work 2,000 years ago but also what he is doing today.
As readers dig into the meaning of the freedom that Jesus offers, they will understand, perhaps for the first time, what true freedom in Christ means.
Hi Noel Jesse! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Noel Jesse: Apples. I carry three with me every day: my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro.
Carrie: haha! Best answer to this question so far!
Noel Jesse: Winter. I can’t stand the heat.
Carrie: You should probably get out of the kitchen then. Wait… wrong context.
Noel Jesse: As long as they aren’t in my house, I don’t care.
Carrie: Why yes, yes I did cover my dog’s eyes when she got to this answer.
Noel Jesse: Strong black coffee, a half a cup at a time. Because I’m not a hipster.
Carrie: No… of course not.
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Noel Jesse: Sarcasm.
Carrie: After your “apples or oranges” answer, I’m shocked. 🙂
Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Noel Jesse: Between Two Worlds by John Stott, Accidental Pharisee by Larry Osborne, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints) by William McDavid, Ethan Richardson, and David Zahl
Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
Noel Jesse: I whiteboard my first draft and type it into the computer. But it’s almost impossible for me to edit on a computer so I print out every single thing I write and hand edit it before typing it back on the computer. I waste a lot of paper. I’m sorry, environment.
Carrie: I’m very curious about this whiteboard method…
Why write about “freedom in Christ”? Why is it important to you?
Noel Jesse: I have met so many Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) who live their entire lives as if God was glowering at them from Heaven, tsk tsking at their every misstep. This is tragic since the Apostle Paul was so emphatic that “for freedom Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
Carrie: A verse that often makes us uncomfortable and/or frustrated! Yet, so vitally important.
What is something that surprised you the most while researching Unchained?
Noel Jesse: Honestly, I was shocked at how little Christians talk about freedom (and how few people actually write about it from a Biblical perspective). It’s like we are scared that if we really live free, really bad stuff is going to happen to us.
Carrie: I think it’s ingrained in sinful human nature – this need to make it much more complicated than it is.
What do you most want readers to take away from Unchained?
Noel Jesse: Jesus has set you free, so live free. Really. You are free. Really. You can live free. Really.
Carrie: Yes, amen.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Noel Jesse: I am working on a book I need for my own soul. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I’m hoping God uses it to convict me of some stuff.
What about you? Why do you think we as Christians are so scared of freedom?