•September 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Danny Gokey, John Gray, Ed Young, Troy Maxwell


This weekend, Freedom House is about to have it’s 10th anniversary as a church. We have a HUGE weekend planned and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it.

Saturday, September 8th, 7:00 pm American Idol finalist, Danny Gokey, kicks off our celebration weekend. John Gray, who is not only an amazing comedian but phenomenal preacher, will be closing out the night. We also have a special gift for every single person that night. Its our way of saying, “Thank you for being part of the story.”

September 9th, all 3 morning services, (9, 10:30, 12) we will be celebrating with your whole family. Not only do we have surprises for the adults, but the children as well. Pastor Troy will be sharing with us 10 Lessons he’s learned in the last 10 Years pastoring Freedom House.

Sunday night we have Ed Young in the house all the way from Dallas, Texas, 7 pm. He has one of the most creative and influential churches in the country.  Immediately following the Sunday night service we will have a huge fireworks show to close out the evening! We also have a gift for you then, as well.

We especially want to thank all of our volunteers for all you do each and every week, without you, there would be no Freedom House. Please be checking your mailbox for a special gift from us to you.

If you are a leader at Freedom House, we wanted to honor you with a special gift to show our appreciation for your dedication and your sacrifice. Be on the lookout, check your mailbox. Again, we honor you for ALL you do. You mean the world to us.

Hope you are ready to celebrate. It will be unlike anything we have ever done before. Lots of surprises to come! I can’t wait!

*****I do know the Saturday night event is at capacity and alternate seating is being discussed. Please watch the website for details. Sunday night had a few seats left, hope you are the one that grabbed them.


Lights! Pizzaz! Rockin’ CDs! But… Why?

•July 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Mommy! When is Freedom Rock?! I can’t wait much longer!” David, Age 7.

“You mean this whole CD is for us kids?! THAT’S SO AWESOOOME!” Jeremiah, Age 5.

Freedom Rock is a HUGE deal to us at Freedom House Church! What’s Freedom Rock? We could tell you it’s our vacation bible school (“VBS”), but that name doesn’t do it any justice! Every summer this kid-venture is jam-packed with big ideas and contagious energy, along with an intense determination to make it better than ever! The list of WOW grows weekly, and (as you might guess) so does our to-do list.

It’s interesting to see some people’s reactions when they notice all the time and resources that go into this event year after year.

“Why all the hype? It’s just a kids’ event.”

“Why would you put so much effort and resources into this?”

“Why did you do a kids’ CD?”

We do it because now’s the time! Countless Freedom House volunteers and staff can personally say their lives were changed because they attended a camp or VBS when they were kids. This is why they serve! God longs for personal relationships with your children NOW, not just when they’re adults. They don’t have to wait to experience the life-changing love and power of Jesus Christ in their hearts.

“But Jesus said, let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

God’s love and desire for your kids is a BIG DEAL, so likewise it’s a big deal to us to create a fun and impacting opportunity for them to hear His Word, worship with hundreds of other kids like them, and most importantly, give their hearts to Jesus.


“Come Alive,” our very first Freedom Rock CD, was birthed out of our passion to resource children and families with music that is not only fun and catchy, but fully loaded with the Word of God and His principles! As we know, music is powerful, powerful enough to influence crowds of ten thousands and even entire generations. Freedom House Worship was honored to create a kid-focused, all-original album that can be a Godly influence in your family.

This year’s Freedom Rock is just around the corner and we cannot wait to love on the hundreds of kids that will walk through those doors! It will be LIFE CHANGING, both for the kids and for the hundreds of volunteers who make it all happen!

If you’ve never experienced Freedom Rock, we invite you come see WHY we do what we do. You won’t leave the same!

For more information on how to register your 5- to 12-year old, or how you can get involved as a volunteer, visit to http://www.freedomrock.cc.

When Is it:
Thu, July 19 (doors open at 6:30 PM; pickup at 9 PM)
Fri, July 20 (doors open at 6:30 PM; pickup at 9 PM)
Sat, July 21 FAMILY NIGHT! (doors open at 6:30 PM; pickup at 9 PM)
Sun, July 22 (during services at 9 AM, 10:30 AM or 12 noon)

Where Is it:
Freedom House Church
2638 Salome Church Road
Charlotte NC 28262

Who Can Attend:
Kids ages 5-12

$15 per child. (Scholarships are available).  Registration includes t-shirt, “backstage pass” lanyard and an advanced copy of Freedom House Worship’s new kids’ CD, “Come Alive.”

He Got Me Good!

•June 13, 2012 • 2 Comments

As many of you have seen both my girls do competition cheerleading. They love it and they get to travel with their team quite a bit. My middle school daughter, Cabell, also cheers for her school. It was a pretty crazy year keeping up with all of the schedules!

The first parent meeting of the year was one I won’t forget. I couldn’t go and I don’t really remember why but Troy went in my place. While he was at the meeting that night he saw a great need for a parent to step up. They needed a team mom to arrange all the meals for the year. The girls had four games a week and were pretty hungry after school, so it was important for a parent to step up and take on this responsibility. No one did.

Troy came home from the meeting that night and announced to me that he was the “team mom” in charge of the food! I thought it was the funniest thing in the whole world but you know what? He did it the whole season and did a great job. I was really surprised! (Sorry, Honey, but I was!)

When I asked Troy why he did it he simply said, “Cause they needed the help.” I love that about him. He made a great cheer dad! All of the girls loved him!

So my son’s high school football season started already this summer. Yes, I know it is crazy but they start very early in high school sports. Their first game is in early August. Two weeks ago they had a parent meeting. I couldn’t go. They needed a parent to step up and run the concession stand. Troy stood up and said, “My WIFE will do it!”

Guess he learned a lot! Guess I did too! I won’t miss another team meeting for my kids! Just look for me in the concession stand! Oh that funny husband of mine! He got me good!

The Commited Will Climb

•June 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This past Sunday was amazing, as usual. When my husband was teaching it reminded me of something I wrote down 3 years ago, so I am sharing it with you today. I hope my thoughts resonate with you. I know it made me check my heart….again! Enjoy!

Today as I was reading in Matthew, I saw something I had never seen before. Honestly, it made me take a long pause. Here is what Matthew 5 said in the Message,

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him.

Now most of us have read the Sermon on the Mount before, but did you ever see that he delivered it not to the huge crowds but to those who were willing to climb with him, the committed? When it takes effort, the divide comes. The crowd stayed at the bottom of the mountain, the committed were willing to do what it took and climbed.

I knew that this passage was considered one of the greatest teachings of all time but never before did I notice that Jesus saved this teaching opportunity for only  those who were committed; it wasn’t for everyone. If you read a little further down in chapter 5 you see why. Jesus says to them,

“Let me tell you why I brought you here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.”

Jesus begins to unfold to these committed ones that “if you are open with your life, you will prompt others to open up their lives to God.” He knew that was the key. The reason He did not address everyone is because He knew not everyone could do what He was going to ask of them. He did not have to say to anyone, “Hey you stay down here at the bottom of the mountain and hey, you come up here!” The people made for themselves choices that separated themselves out.

Today I want you to ask yourself this question when it comes to your commitment to the Lord and the choices you make. Would you be at the bottom of the mountain or would you be one who was at the top, one who was committed and climbed? Now before you just jump to one conclusion or another let me tell you something. The dividing factor was not just an internal thing. Many times I hear people say how committed they are to serving the Lord in their hearts but their actions do not line up with it. For example, I am committed to the Lord but I do not show up to serve in Kids Church on time. How can that be? I am committed to the Lord but don’t give of my financial resources to see His Kingdom expand.  How can that be? I am committed to the Lord but…. Notice that the climb was not merely an internal thing. It was an internal heart motive that showed itself externally by DOING SOMETHING!

If your heart is really committed, your actions will automatically follow. Jesus did not have to divide the people out at all. All He had to do was show them some work, and they made the choice for themselves. Let me tell you something, ministering is work! There is no way around it, it is hard work and you do feel like you are climbing a mountain at times. But what I can tell you is that it is worth it. It is worth every drop of sweat, every sore muscle, every deep breath–it is worth it!

The reason Jesus had them climb is because he knew if they couldn’t even climb a little while with Him, they certainly could not spread the gospel to the whole world. Hey, if you cannot show up for Kids Church on time, you think you are gonna reach the world? You won’t volunteer to usher but you want to reach the world? Just think about that for a few minutes! It just might bring some perspective to your life.

Will you climb?

Ladies, We Gotta Do Better

•June 9, 2012 • 3 Comments

I realize the topic I am about to hit is not one most pastor’s wives would touch with a 10-foot pole, but then again, I am not most pastor’s wives. So I plan on hitting it head on.

In the seat that I sit, I have the great opportunity to talk to lots of women. I love that. In doing so, I see a common thread with us as women that we have to change because it is dangerous. I also see it not only in the church but in the community as well. Let me explain.

We need to stop competing with each other and love and embrace the heck out of each other. Our insecurities are driving this and because of that we are causing devastation to others lives. We tend to be judgmental to what we don’t understand, so why not extend an understanding hand to other women and not judge them just because we don’t understand them. Ladies, we just gotta do better!

It doesn’t matter if it is in the church or out, it is not partial to economic status or race but it is common to us as women in general, we let our insecurities cause problems with other women. Let me share some examples.

I sat and listened as group of women critiqued a beautiful woman who walked in the room. She was a very pretty blond. She was petite with a slight frame. She had a beautiful smile. She was very stylish (in my opinion), athletically fit and in general, just well put together. When she came in the room, I recognized her. I knew her. The other ladies I don’t believe knew her, if they did it certainly was not to the extent that I did. But just then, the onslaught began.  Every great attribute she possessed, they began to tear apart. She was thin because she was anorexic or vein. She was pretty because she had plastic surgery and was obsessed with her appearance. She dressed well because she was shallow and wanted attention. She probably spent too much on clothes anyway. Her smile was fake and she probably wasn’t happy. Her life was probably miserable. She probably thinks she’s better than anyone else and she must be stuck-up. These ladies actually verbalized their thoughts and it wasn’t as fast as I listed it out, it was over the course of a meal, but they still made their thoughts known. Some of us go there, we just don’t necessarily say it out loud, both are dangerous stances though.

To hear this happening from a group near me made my heart break because unlike them, I actually knew her well. I thought to my self, “They would really have a fit if they knew how talented she is too!” But the thing is, I did know her and she was NOTHING like what they were describing. She is literally one of the kindest, sweetest, ladies I know. She would do anything for anyone, and she does. She has a great family and is upstanding in her community. It made me sad.

I was sitting by the pool with a fellow pastor’s wife. This lady is one of the coolest I know. As we sat there, she recounted the same story I just wrote about but the participants were different. She lives in another state. It was happening across the country too. It made me sad.

I meet on a regular basis with a group of women who don’t come to our church but are from the community. The last time I was with them, not one of us was dry-eyed when we left the meeting. It started with one woman sharing how other women had picked her apart most of her life and ended with all of us feeling that at some point or another in our lives. But judging from the tears, the wounds didn’t seem very old for any of us. After that encounter, I was determined to do something about it. It made me sad.

Ladies, we don’t need to compete with each other. We all have a huge role to play in this life. We don’t need to criticize another woman to make ourselves feel better about our insecurities. We actually need each other. If we could stop judging and start loving I think we would see a powerful move of God happen. Can you imagine what would happen if we decided to become each others solution instead of each others competition? We need to be a place of safety for each other. We need to cheer each other on EVEN if we don’t necessarily understand everything about the other person. We are different for a reason, embrace that.

One of the women closest to me in my life is someone who is totally opposite from me, in just about every way. She is way smarter than me and way more organized than me. However, I get to help her with things that are more creative in nature because that is how I am wired. She keeps me on task and I keep her having fun! We don’t compete, we complete. We need each other. What would happen if we tried to BE each other? We would be insecure and both of us would be missing something valuable in our lives. We would also feel as if we never measured up because I wasn’t meant to be her and she wasn’t meant to be me. I tired to be super organized, it left me frustrated. She helps me with that and she loves it.

Let’s not sabotage the potential for a great relationship because of fear or insecurity. There are some amazing women out there who NEED YOU!

Remember this:

Hurt people, hurt people.

People who feel judged, judge.

Healed people, heal people.

Let’s choose to get healed up so we can help others heal. Let’s love other women and be their biggest fans! Let’s choose to be us and not anyone else. We can be the best us we can be but we make a lousy somebody else. Any ladies with me?

Get Fresh!

•June 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I love to eat fresh things and one of my favorite is fresh herbs from my garden. Before you think I have a green thumb, let me fill you in. I have an herb garden that is in pots on my back deck. I did it because not only are all of the pots beautiful to look at and decorative but they are all functional as well. I can eat them!

Basil. It is great in anything Italian.

I hope that I can convince you to give this whole herb garden thing a try. It is so much cheaper than buying them at the grocery store and if you grow them yourself, you can have organic, fresh herbs that will last you all summer long and because they are in pots you don’t have to keep weeding them. Now that is pretty cool to me!

Chives. They are great on baked potatoes and anything you want to add a mild onion flavor to.

When you want to use any of your herbs, you just simply snip off the portion you want and where you snipped will grow back again and again.

Cilantro. Great on anything you want to have a South of the Border kick to it.

Some herbs, like rosemary, oregano, and chives, will continue to come back year after year if you simply water it regularly.

Rosemary. Has a strong flavor, a little of this goes a long way. Lamb, chicken, sauces.

Rosemary stays green all year long so you can use this herb even in the middle of winter. It grows huge. As a matter of fact, I put it in my yard too so it could get really big and it would smell great when I walk in my back yard.

Dill. Great on seafood, chicken, in potato salad.

One of the other things I love about fresh herbs is the fact I can sneak in even more greens into my kids diet! I love that!

Thyme. I use this herb the most. It goes into all of my soup recipes, just for starters.

My kids also love to snip the herbs when its time to make recipes. It has really helped my girls get excited about helping in the kitchen. They can name all of the herbs just by looking at them. As soon as I start making a dish, they know which herbs to go and harvest. Yep, it’s even educational. 🙂

Oregano. Great on anything Italian.

I hope you give this simple herb garden a try. Your yard will look beautiful, your food will taste yummy and your family will be eating healthy things.

Parsley. This herb goes on everything, no limit.

Feel free to try herbs you may like, that suit your tastebuds. I have all the ones I use on a regular basis right at my disposal. The only one I am missing is bay leaf. I heard that Christie’s nursery in Concord has a bay bush but I have yet to get one.

Let me know if you are thinking about trying it or if you have any questions or suggestions.

God’s 3rd Choice: Troy and Penny Maxwell

•June 1, 2012 • 2 Comments

Nearly 9 1/2 years ago Troy and I started Freedom House Church. We knew God spoke to us to leave all we knew in Richmond, leave our family, leave our friends, leave everything and go to a city we had never been to before.

We started Freedom House with two other people besides our family. We didn’t have a launch team, we didn’t have the money and we certainly didn’t have the expertise to start a church from scratch. No money. No people. Unfamiliar city. No jobs. Three little mouths to feed. What were we thinking?

Some of the greatest pains and the greatest joys have come from being obedient to what God had spoken to us in starting Freedom House. We just built our first (of many) church building on nearly 30 acres of land right off of the 485 beltway. It has definitely been amazing watching a dream become reality. We also have an office building on that same property. Oh and I can’t forget the beautiful acre pond filled with bass and brim. (That’s my kids favorite part.)

Each week the lobby is teeming with people and the services are packed with those who came to be touched by the power of God.

But I have to tell you the truth. When God called us to Charlotte, when he called us to leave all we knew and come to a land we were unfamiliar with, we weren’t his first choice. In fact, he told us that there were two others he asked to do it before us but they didn’t do it. The price was too high and they didn’t go. We were his third choice. A little humbling isn’t it?

Now let me back track a bit, our church has grown leaps and bounds! Do we have an amazing, gifted staff? Yes, that is not why we are seeing what we are seeing today. Do we have the best volunteers on the planet? Yes, but that is still not why we are seeing an explosion happen. Is my husband gifted at leading and teaching? Yes, but that is not why Freedom House has touched so many.

You see God wanted us to know very early on that Freedom House was ALL about Him before things grew he wanted the record straight. The only thing Troy and I did was say YES! He asked two others before us to do it, they just didn’t. You know, in the midst of all of the explosion, it’s real difficult to think you’re all that when you know if you don’t do what you are supposed to, he’ll just get someone else to. It’s hard to have an ego or think it’s about you and your gifts when you know he can even make a donkey talk to get his will accomplished, if need be. Growth is to bring God glory, not to think anyone’s gift or talent landed them there. It’s about HIM, always has been, always will be. The only big deal is God.

I thank God that not only did Troy and I say yes, but that our staff and hundreds of volunteers say yes each and every week. None of us HAVE to do what we do each week, we GET to do what we do each week. Troy and I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve God in the capacity we do each and every day of our lives. I don’t want him to have to ask someone else to do something he asked me to do.

It often crosses my mind what would have happened if the others who were asked to start Freedom House before us would have said yes. To me, it doesn’t matter which order I was chosen in to fulfill this part of God’s plan, I’m just glad I am. We may have been asked third, but it was our first.

What do you need to say yes to? Don’t let someone else live out YOUR opportunity! Just say YES even if it’s hard!

Best Guacamole Recipe! (And a good analogy too)

•May 7, 2012 • 1 Comment

The first time I tasted guacamole I absolutely hated it. Green. Slimy. Yuck! All I could think of was green, watered-down Play Dough. I forced myself to taste it, and it was even worse than the pureed peas I used to feed my munchkins when they were little. Let me tell you, honestly, after tasting that guacamole, I’d rather have a jar of those peas! Then one day I found myself facing a bowl of guacamole, again. We had flown to Dallas to visit some friends and they took us to a great Mexican restaurant where they ordered, what else, tableside guacamole. Even though they raved about the guacamole, I decided to forgo the green goop. When the waiter placed the guacamole on the table I noticed that even though it was still green and pasty, it did look a little different. At the urging of my friends I decided I’d try just a smidgen on my chip—just to humor them. SHOCKER! The stuff was so darn good I couldn’t get enough chips. I didn’t even leave enough room for my dinner.

“How could this be the same stuff?” I wondered. My first experience with packaged, processed guacamole caused me to judge all guacamole. That just wasn’t the “real” stuff, and to think what I’d been missing all that time! I think many people have had a similar experience with church. Maybe you tried “church” and hated it. Just like over-processed guacamole left a bad taste in my mouth, did church leave a bad taste in yours? Did you find church to be out of touch and irrelevant? Maybe you even felt mistreated, ignored or misunderstood. Maybe the pastor turned you off. Yuck! I don’t blame you for not wanting to try it ever again. When I finally tasted the “real” guacamole, I couldn’t get enough of it. When you have the real deal, you know it. Just today I made homemade guacamole because it is now one of my favorite foods. I’ve shared my guacamole with friends and many of them have become guacamole lovers too! If you tried church and didn’t like it, I encourage you to try it again. It’s worth the search to find the “real” deal. You will be glad you did. You might even say, “Pass the chips.”

If you’ve never had really good guacamole, try out my recipe and let me know what you think:

2 ripe avocados (they will be soft, if not put in a brown paper bag for a few days to ripen)

2 TBSP red onion, chopped

1 TBSP chopped cilantro

1 large wedge of lime

5 cherry tomatoes chopped and seeded

Chopped jalapeño (you decide how much you like. Remember the heat is in the seeds and the veins)

Sea Salt

Warmed tortilla chips (warm them at 200 degrees in the oven while you make the dip)

Smash the avocados in a bowl with a fork. I like it smooth, but you might like it chunky. Then, add in your ingredients and mix. The lime wedge can be squeezed in at the end and you can rub the lime around the bowl to get little bits of lime in your guacamole bites.


Easter 2012

•April 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’m really excited about Easter at Freedom House! There are so many amazing things happening for the whole family! First, your kids will enjoy lots of inflatables, eggs, candy and a petting zoo that even has giant bunnies in it! I can just see their faces now, can’t you?

Next, your older children and your teenagers will notice a truck pulling up with something special on it, just for them. I am not allowed to tell what it is yet, though. Why do they do this to me? It’s just too exciting. I wanna tell!

Then, a big announcement will be made that will have all the kids squealing, even some adults too. I know I am squealing inside. But can you believe the staff won’t let me tell that either? What’s wrong with them? Don’t you wanna know?

Every single person who comes is walking away with something we ALL love. I thought our creative team was the best ever when I heard what they are giving away to everyone. Man, but they won’t let me tell any of that either. I guess they are in to surprises. All I know is I am glad I am going to be there!

Lastly, (I saved the best for last) my husband let me in on the best part of the day! The message is going to be incredibly powerful and you don’t want your family or friends to miss any of it. What a great opportunity we have. We get to invite people to have an incredibly-amazing, fun time because God is fun, and we get to see life change right in front of our eyes. Get ready for a great Easter at Freedom House.


Service times: 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 12:30pm The 8 am time is our sunrise service with communion.


Easy Sausage and Cheddar Biscuits

•March 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

1 lb of Neese’s hot sausage, cooked and drained (you can tell a big difference if you use inferior sausage)

10 oz of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

3 cups of Bisquick

dash of cayenne pepper

2 TBSP of milk

Mix above ingredients and form in large balls. The larger the ball, the larger your biscuits are. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. It really depends on how large you make them. You may also use muffin tins and well. They make a really nice shape. They also freeze really well for a mid-week fast breakfast!