top of page

Why Matthew's House?


Everyone is welcome! That is why we are Matthew’s House. A few thousand years ago, Jesus was hanging out at Matthew’s house having a great time with a bunch of regular people like you and us. When the judgmental crowd saw what was happening, they pointed their fingers and asked Jesus why He would spend His time with "sinners."

Those finger-pointing Pharisees didn’t realize that God is looking for people who know they struggle and need His help to be healed. He loves to hang out with us regular folks. Like those who were at Matthew's house that day, we all know we are not perfect, but know we can experience all that He has to offer anyway. And that, friends, is really good news.

Who is Matthew's House?


We are Phil and Laurel Appel. We are a couple of Junior High sweethearts who have been together for 40 years and married for 32 of them. We have five grown children (including spouses of our oldest two) and three grand babies (all little princesses). We are blessed to have all of our children and grandchildren in North Carolina with us. Together we love to enjoy coffee time on the back deck, discussing the Bible, and playing with our grandbabies.

Phil and Laurel Appel
Photo by Blake Martin

About Laurel

Life has certainly allowed Laurel to have a variety of experiences that have influenced her mission and ministry. She has a heart for people to know they are loved, free, and don’t have to live in shame. Her own journey to accepting these truths has given her compassion for those who struggle to believe them.

Laurel’s passion for teaching led her to homeschool her children, teach Sunday School and women’s study groups, develop Bible studies for both children and adults, and run a homeschool co-op for the community. In that co-op she enjoyed teaching Bible studies for the children as well as art, music, drama, history, and even cake decorating.

Now that her children are grown, she is venturing out on a new path. She combines her years of experience and Biblical knowledge to share God’s love and grace with the world through her ministry. She is a freelance writer, speaker, and has a book, Radical Grace: Live Free and Unashamed, that will be released in Dec 2022. Learn more about her upcoming book at

When Laurel isn't teaching, writing, or studying, she enjoys playing with her grand-princesses, researching her ancestry, painting, and spending time with her family. She appreciates deep, honest, and meaningful conversation with family and friends. She doesn't like seafood, but loves spending time at her and Phil's cottage on the coast.

About Phil

Phil was involved in sports as a youth until junior high, when a close sports friend committed suicide. This devastating event impacted him greatly and drove him to ponder even at that young age, life, death, and the realities of the world we live in. 


Since he was a little boy, Phil has had a love for the Word of God. He used to hide under his covers at night with a flashlight reading his Bible. He was fascinated not only with the adventurous and dramatic stories, but more so with the grace and love that God has for His children. His passion for this message is what drives him still in all he does.


To make a living, Phil has been a computer programmer for 28 years and has recently partnered with his son in their computer consulting company. When he isn't working, he enjoys being with his family, visiting the coast, rooting for the Dodgers with Laurel, and digging into scientific and historical articles and books. He also enjoys traveling and eating seafood, obviously, not with Laurel; she'll have the chicken.


Phil's biggest passion though, is learning, living and teaching the truth of the Bible so he can encourage people to find their passions and pursue them with reckless abandon. His goal is to help people see the freeing message of Jesus so they can live life filled with peace and joy without the religious condemnation and shame that so often ensnares us.

bottom of page