Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Cruciform Conference

I had such a great time at Cruciform Conference a couple of weeks ago! Sadly, a few of the speakers pictured above ended up not being able to make it due to illness and other reasons, but even though we missed them, there was no shortage of wonderful preaching and teaching on the theme of holiness.

The first morning of the conference I finally had the pleasure of meeting in person my dear online friend, Chris Honholz, and his lovely wife, Kristine. You might remember that I was a guest on Chris’ and Richard Story’s podcast, Voice of Reason Radio, a while back, and I got to do another brief interview with Chris at the conference:

Voice of Reason Radio- Cruciform Conference: Interview Edition
Subscribe to VOR Radio and become a regular listener!

It was tons of fun visiting with Chris and Kristine in person. We were staying at the same hotel, and they graciously chauffeured me around all weekend. What a blessing to me – and to the body of Christ – these two are!

Kristine, me, Chris

Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of teaching and fellowship. I would highly recommend that you head over to the Cruciform Ministries YouTube Channel and give all of the sermons a listen.

On Friday, I taught my first breakout session (for women only, of course): Holy Mothers (and Others) of God’s Word: The Holy Women of Scripture:

Saturday’s session was Practical Holiness:

On Saturday evening, my podcast co-host – Amy Spreeman – and I had a super time recording a live Q&A episode of A Word Fitly SpokenGlad You Asked: Live From Cruciform Conference:

You can also listen to this episode at our website,
or by subscribing to AWFS on your favorite podcast platform.

I had tons of fun meeting and fellowshipping with so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone had such interesting stories or ministries! And the fall foliage in Indy – gorgeous!

I’d also like to take a moment to put in a good word for smaller, regional conferences like Cruciform. Large conferences are awesome, and I enjoy them, but there are a lot of great things about smaller conferences that you may not be aware of if you’ve never been to one. Smaller conferences…

  • …are usually less expensive.
  • …introduce you to great pastors, speakers, authors, and ministries you wouldn’t otherwise have known about.
  • …allow you to network with others in your area who have similar ministry interests
  • …allow more and deeper fellowship with other attendees
  • …allow you more access to speakers you want to meet
  • …often have a more casual, relaxed atmosphere than larger conferences

If there’s a doctrinally sound smaller conference in your region, I’d encourage you to give it a try.

It was so encouraging to fellowship with my brothers and sisters and sit under wonderful preaching at Cruciform 2020. Many thanks to Brandon Scalf for his tireless work putting this wonderful conference together, for inviting me to speak, and for being a great handler – graciously making sure all of my needs were met. Thanks also to all of his helpers who ferried me to and from the airport, made sure I got to eat when I arrived in town, and expertly managed all the audio, video, and computer equipment for my sessions and the podcast.

I’d love to see you at Cruciform 2021! Next year the conference will be held June 4-5, instead of in October, so start planning to attend now!

If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.

Photo Credits

Cruciform logo images courtesy of Cruciform Conference.

Photos of Michelle teaching by Kristine Honholz.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley, Chris Honholz, Brandon Scalf, and conference attendees.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Standing Firm on God’s Word Conference

I recently had a wonderful time of Scripture-centered fellowship at the Standing Firm on God’s Word Conference hosted by First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Oklahoma.

I flew in on Friday afternoon and had a wonderful time chatting with Pastor Derek McMurtry and his lovely wife, Valarie as they whisked me away from the Oklahoma City airport to my hotel in Lawton, just down the road from Chattanooga.

Now, everybody who travels has at least one funny travel story, and among all the other blessings on this trip, I think I found mine as I was checking in to the hotel.

I went up to the front desk, gave the desk clerk all of my information, and she promptly turned over my key card. I followed her directions and easily found room 150. After inserting the card into the lock a few times (I miss the days when hotels used actual keys), I managed to enter the room. The first thing I noticed was a framed print of Proverbs 27:17 on the desk.

“Well, look what a neat little thing God did!” I thought. “That’s one of the verses I’ll be teaching on tomorrow. And maybe this hotel is run by Christians!”

The second thing I noticed was that the bed was unmade…and that there was also a briefcase on the desk…and the bathroom light was on….

“OH!” I shrieked, loudly enough to scare the daylights out of anyone who might have been in the bathroom (and possibly the entire first floor). When no one emerged, I backed out of the room and hastily retraced my steps to the front desk.

“Was something wrong with your room?” the clerk inquired.


So I had a good chuckle at the whole situation and assured the desk clerk that everything was OK while she apologized profusely and quickly checked me into another – manless – room.

Then it was off to dinner with the McMurtrys, and Holly and Suzanne, two of the conference coordinators.

I love Mexican food. Hmm…these guys look so familiar!

Saturday, it was go time, and I had the pleasure of driving through the beautiful Oklahoma countryside between Lawton and Chattanooga.

Aren’t these pretty? I’m not sure what they’re called, but they look very similar to the Black-eyed Susans that grow in Louisiana.

Chattanooga is a charming and homey town.

The wind really does come sweepin’ down the plain!

The conference venue: The Chattanooga Civic Center

A quilt made out of news stories and photos that tell all about Chattanooga

And, of course, the ladies did an outstanding job of decorating festively…

The planners chose just the right format for their very first conference, two teaching sessions and a Q&A session.

Session 1 was The Necessity of the Bible. We explored the reasons the Bible is so imperative for us as Christian women along with some tips for studying and incorporating more Scripture into our daily lives.

In our second session, The Sufficiency and Authority of Scripture, we took a look at how and why we are to submit to the authority of God’s Word, and why the written Word is sufficient for our every need as Christians.

Next, it was time for a delicious lunch and warm fellowship.

And then our Q&A session. These ladies asked some smart questions!

Aren’t these little Q&A cards cute?

I was blown away by the kindness and generosity of the hostesses and attendees. Before I left, they showered me with gifts and kind words.

Thank you notes and love offerings
Snacks! Hostesses always know the way to my heart.
Spurgeon Study Bible and “In Christ Alone” pendant
Thanks so much, everyone!

As soon as the conference was over, it was back to the OKC airport, which is called the Will Rogers World Airport…

My time at the airport was a bust :0)

…and then on home by way of Dallas/Ft. Worth, where I got to watch a stunning sunset as we were landing. A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

Naturally, this picture doesn’t do justice to God’s artistry

It was so encouraging to meet and teach the lovely ladies of Chattanooga. Big hugs and thank you’s to everyone at FBC- Chattanooga for your “bend over backwards” hospitality and for a stellar conference. I highly recommend this warm and welcoming church to anyone in southwest Oklahoma who is looking for a doctrinally sound body of Believers to join.

If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.

Photo Credits

Photo of church exterior courtesy of FBC Chattanooga.

Restaurant logo courtesy of Los Tres Amigos.

Photos of Michelle teaching courtesy of conference attendees.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Women Thinking Wisely Conference

I had such a lovely time serving the ladies of Meade, Kansas, last weekend at Countryside Bible Church’s Women Thinking Wisely women’s conference.

Countryside Bible Church
(Used to be the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church.
Kinda hard to change your name when it’s “set in stone””!)

I flew in on Friday afternoon and got some quality chat time with Pastor Jonathan Dale and his charming wife, Nora, as we drove from the airport to Meade through the beautiful farmland that comprises much of the area.

I thought Oklahoma’s “where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain”
but I guess Kansas gets a good stiff breeze too, or they wouldn’t have all of these windmills!
*Nora Dale and me.

The Dales dropped me off at the warm and welcoming home of Roxanna and Darwin who hosted me for the weekend at their family owned and operated farm, Ediger Farms.

Saturday was the big day, and we headed over to the church for the conference. I do not have the gift of decorating, but somebody at Countryside sure does, because you would hardly have known the gym was a gym. The whole CBC family must have pitched in to make everything so pleasant and inviting, and they did a super job!

The centerpieces incorporated the theme verse for the weekend,
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.*

At last it was time to get down to business, and we began with worship and prayer. Usually, when I teach at a conference, I teach 2-4 sessions on various aspects of one topic, like biblical womanhood or discernment, but the ladies who planned this conference had me teach about thinking wisely in three very diverse arenas – emotionalism, the media, and suffering – which I found to be a refreshing challenge. (I’ll insert a link to the audio for each session when it becomes available.)

Session 1 was Rightly Handling Our Emotions. We explored what it means to live life led by the objective Word of God rather than our subjective feelings and opinions.

*    *  


In our second session, Rightly Handling Media, we took a look at media and how it can be used as a tool for helping us grow in Christ or creating problems in our walk with Christ.


Next, it was time for lunch- a variety of salads, and one of my favorites, cheesecake. I would have taken a picture, but I was focused on snarfing it down!

After lunch, we dealt with Rightly Handling Suffering in session three. Jesus is our hero in suffering, our hope in suffering, and our way to handle suffering.



Craft time! The ladies got to take a (much needed, I’m sure) break and make these lovely mementos of the conference. Someone even made one for me since I was busily preparing for the last session. (Thank you, whoever you are!)


Following craft time was our last session of the day, Q&A, always my favorite session. The ladies asked some very smart questions that I had fun answering.

Awesome Q&A cards to fill out and turn in!


As the conference wrapped up, Nora presented me with a wonderful hostess gift. These cute dish towels will always remind me of my visit to the Sunflower State and the lovely ladies of CBC. And the candy was delicious!

Before she went home, Hannah, a mighty talented young artist, presented me with this portrait. I am so impressed with the detail- she included my necklace, earrings, and the headset mic, and even captured my incessant gesticulating. Somebody’s got a career in the art world ahead of her when she grows up!

It’s never easy to say goodbye. I met so many precious brothers and sisters in Christ, and even a couple of furry friends!

Great to meet you, Tami and Gina!**

Church kitties!
I’m not a cat person, but even I couldn’t resist these two cuties.

Before I knew it, I was headed back for the airport. Big thank you’s to Sara for driving me to and from the conference, to Travis and Tiff, who welcomed me into their home for supper on Saturday night and fed me well, and to Eric and Angela who heroically picked me up at 3:30 a.m. (yes, you read that right) so I could make my 6:00 a.m. flight, then drove all the way back home for church. (I hope Pastor Jonathan will forgive you if you nodded off during his sermon!)

I had an amazing trip to Kansas, and it was such an honor to teach the sweet ladies of Meade. Many thanks to all the folks at Countryside Bible Church for your sweet hospitality and for putting on such a wonderful conference. I highly recommend this warm and welcoming church to anyone in southwest Kansas who is looking for a doctrinally sound body of Believers to join.

If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.

Photo Credits

Photos marked by a single asterisk (*), courtesy of Roxanna Ediger

Photo marked by a double asterisk (**), unknown

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Cruciform Conference

What a joy it was to help kick off the first annual Cruciform Conference last weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana!

I spI wIth mI lIttle I
somethIng’s mIssIng from Indy’s welcome to vIsItors!

The theme of Cruciform this year was The Cross Purchased Life. We were treated to wonderful cross-centered preaching from a number of pastors, speakers, and godly men, including a couple of my Twitter friends…

Dustin Benge                                           Kofi Adu-Boahen

I had the honor of teaching two breakout sessions just for women.

Faithfully Fighting Feminism:
Fighting the Good Fight by Walking Out Biblical Womanhood

Click here for the session outline handout.


Hooked on a Feeling:
Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions

Click here for the session outline handout.


One of my favorite parts of conferences is meeting social media friends face to face. Bunking with Michael and Erin Coughlin for two days was so much fun. They were so kind and hospitable, and I owe them a million thanks for treating me like a queen. If you’ve been around the blog a while, you may recall that Michael has written several guest posts for me. He also writes for the Things Above Us blog and hosts the Things Above Us Roundtable podcast which Michael interviewed me for during the conference. And Erin does everything else. It was a delight to get to know this sweet sister in Christ!

Erin and me

L-R: Michael Coughlin, Amy (whose last name I can’t remember, but who was such a blessing to drive me to the airport!), me, Erin

with Dustin Benge                                      with Kofi Adu-Boahen

with Kofi and Michael

And, of course, what’s a conference without books? Thanks so much to Cruciform, Michael, and Allen Nelson for these lovely gifts. (You can read a review of Before the Throne here, if you like.)

I was in Indianapolis less than 48 hours, and most of that was at the conference, so I didn’t have time to do any touristy stuff. For all you Indy Car fans, here’s a display that was set up in the airport on loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum:

Normally, when I go on a trip, in lieu of buying souvenirs, I try to have a meal of whatever food is iconic to that area (clam chowder in Cape Cod, Chicago deep dish pizza, etc.). I’m clueless as to what sort of cuisine is iconic to Indiana, but we found a phenomenal little local taqueria that you simply must visit if you’re ever in Indianapolis: Paco’s Taqueria. (Like I said, I was in Indy less than 48 hours and we had two meals at Paco’s. It was that good.) Traditional style tacos, quesadillas, and lots of other choices made by folks who know how those dishes are supposed to be cooked. I can highly recommend the shrimp, ground beef, and chicken tacos, but everything looked and smelled wonderful. I am officially obsessed with these tacos.


All too soon, the conference was over and it was time to head back home. But I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at next year’s Cruciform Conference along with Justin Peters, Justin Huffman, and more great men of God (to be announced at a later date) that you won’t want to miss! You’ve got almost a year, so start making plans now to attend October 23-24!

Many thanks to those of you who helped make this trip possible!

If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.

Photo Credits

Cruciform Conference video and promo pics- Courtesy of Cruciform Conference

Photos of friends at the conference- Some of these were taken by Michael or Erin Coughlin, but I can’t remember which ones. Probably the good ones.

Photo of tacos- Courtesy of Paco’s Taqueria on Facebook

All other photos by Michelle Lesley