Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Women Thriving God’s Way Retreat

What a joy it was, last weekend, to share with my sisters from Highland Bible Church of Woodland Park, Colorado at their fall retreat: Women Thriving God’s Way! Conferences are great for reaching out to women in your community and surrounding areas, but sometimes you need an event where it’s just family. Retreats provide an intimate atmosphere for the women of a local church to bond together as sisters in Christ. It was an honor to speak into HBC women’s family time.

I grew up in southern New Mexico, but I had never crossed our northern border into Colorado before, so it was exciting to touch down at the Colorado Springs airport.

First on the agenda was dinner with Pastor Jeff and his wife, Sharon (who kindly picked me up at the airport), and Adriana (who organized the retreat) and her husband Asa. In the body of Christ, you never meet a stranger, only extended family, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship together.

After dinner, Adriana and Asa checked me into the delightfully rustic Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center:

On Friday morning, Adriana and her daughter Jenny Lynn were so kind to take me around and show me some of the sights. The Colorado Springs area is home to a number of notable sites, including the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, the United States Air Force Academy, Pike’s Peak, Focus on the Family, The Navigators, and their striking conference center, Glen Eyrie Castle.

Since our time was limited, we focused on two other sites I was particularly interested in, The Garden of the Gods, and Charis Bible College.

The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful area just outside of town, with huge sandstone rock formations set against Pike’s Peak as a majestic backdrop. It’s easy to ignore the evolutionary fairy tales about how the rocks and mountains were formed, because it’s more than obvious that God’s awesome creative hand was at work here!

After a great lunch at a local deli, we did a quick drive through tour of Charis Bible College. I know, kind of a weird choice for sightseeing if you know anything about the school. Or me.

Charis “Bible” College was founded by Andrew Wommack, a key figure in the New Apostolic Reformation / Word of Faith movement. If you’re at all familiar with Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry, Charis is kind of like that but with more of a “real” college atmosphere and approach. Still, students are required to take courses with titles like “Healing,” “Holy Spirit I & II,” “Establishing a Prosperous Soul,” and “Operating in God’s Best”. And yet the code of student conduct has the audacity to admonish:

“Spreading false doctrine is not allowed…it is not appropriate to…teach against the doctrines in Charis’ statement of faith.”

The campus is gorgeous and the surroundings enchanting.

I was intrigued by this unique speed limit sign (below). No explanation was posted, and I searched Charis’ website and the internet extensively to no avail. At first I thought it was a reference for a Bible verse, but I looked at every chapter 22 in the Bible, and the only 22:53 references I found were:

1 Kings 22:53: He served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger in every way that his father had done.

Luke 22:53: When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Pretty appropriate if you ask me, but I doubt Andrew Wommack would have chosen either of those verses.

The only other thing I found is that 22.53 km/hr is roughly equivalent to 14 mph, so…maybe that’s it? I don’t know. If you know, comment below. Curiosity is about to kill me! :0)

Not long ago, my friend Justin Peters was preaching at HBC, and he and Pastor Jeff took the time to visit a class. Needless to say, their questions weren’t welcome, and they were Kicked Out of Charis. I didn’t have time to do anything that would get me kicked out. :0) (You can see more of the opulent insides of the buildings in this video, too.)

We arrived back at Golden Bell in plenty of time to rest up for a fun and delicious dinner and “getting to know each other better” time of fellowship, followed by our first teaching session on biblical womanhood: Rock Your Role at Home and at Church.

Participant gift bags. Thanks, ladies! I really needed a new journal!

Saturday after breakfast, we got right down to business with our second session: Holy Mothers (and Others) of God’s Word, one of my favorites. We strolled through the Bible and took a brief look at the lives of several of our Old and New Testament sisters, and their examples of holiness to us.

Between teaching sessions and other activities, the ladies had the opportunity to craft these cute Christmas ornaments. They kindly gave me a couple to take home. What a treat!

Session 3, Practical Holiness, a look at practical ways to pursue holiness in our daily lives, came right after lunch. And after a fun afternoon of rest and recreation, capped off by a mouth-watering supper, we ended the day with teaching session 4, God’s Word: Our Foundation, addressing the necessity, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture.

I had to get up at 4 a.m. to catch my flight home the next morning, but it was worth it to be able to be with my own church family Sunday night. Flying on 9/11 was an interesting experience. The Colorado Springs airport asked us to observe a moment of silence in remembrance, and everyone respectfully complied.

Many thanks to Pastor Jeff, Sharon, Adriana, Jenny Lynn, Russ, Ely, and all of the HBC ladies who worked so hard to host a great retreat, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Woodland Park area, be sure to stop in to Highland Bible Church for a visit!

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

All photos marked with a white star were taken by retreat attendees.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Denton, Texas, Conference

I had a such a wonderful time recently sharing with the ladies of The Church at Pecan Creek of Denton, Texas, at their spring women’s conference! Ladies from as far away as Louisiana and Oklahoma, as well as various areas of Texas, came out to fellowship with us.

The FAA’s mask mandate was dropped about ten days or so before my trip to Denton. I fly a lot, and – no joke – I haven’t been this excited to fly since I was a little kid.

Felicia (wife of TCPC’s pastor, Trey Talley) was my charming hostess for the weekend and greeted me with this awesome gift bag when she picked me up at the airport Friday afternoon. Boy, were my husband and sons jealous! They love them some Bucc-ee’s, and we don’t have one in Louisiana. (Don’t worry, I shared a little bit when I got home.)

Photo courtesy of The GreenHouse

Dinner at The GreenHouse that night was tasty, and I spent a lovely evening chatting about all things women’s discipleship with Felicia and the other two elders’ wives, Melodie and Carrie.

My dear friends, Beki (Mrs. Gabriel Hughes) and Jennifer (Mrs. Tom Buck), came all the way from First Baptist Church, Lindale, Texas, for the conference. Providentially, we discovered we were staying in the same hotel, so we got to catch up for a little while after dinner. (I was just the tiniest bit excited to see them. :0)

Beki, Michelle, Jennifer
Photo courtesy of Beki Hughes

Beki brought along Sonya, another sweet friend of ours, and they blessed me with these great gifts. Beki didn’t know it when she bought the mug, but “You Are My Sunshine” is Louisiana’s state song. They told me that the Lindale Candy Co. is just down the street from FBC Lindale, so both places are now, of course, on my bucket list of places to visit.

Saturday morning, it was conference time!

All of the ladies were greeted by these two handsome gents. Holding the door open for ladies will take you far in life, young men! :0)
Welcome and check in. It was such a great idea to invite conference guests to visit TCPC for worship the next day!
It was super helpful to have the schedule up on the screens throughout the church.

In our first session on Suffering, we explored Jesus as our hero in suffering, the hope in our suffering, and ways to biblically handle our suffering.

Session two was all about Managing Media – being wise and discerning with news, social media, movies and TV, and other media we consume.

Session three was Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions. We studied Jesus’ example of living by every word from the mouth of God and some practical ways to be led by God’s objective Word rather than our subjective feelings.

We finished up the day with a fun Q&A session. These ladies asked some sharp questions!

Keep an eye on TCPC’s website for soon to be posted conference video. In the mean time, my good friend Robin Self over at A Worthy Walk was also able to attend, and she has kindly shared her thoughts and notes on the conference with us in her article, A Day With Michelle Lesley.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buck
Photo courtesy of Robin Self
Photo courtesy of Morgan Lynn
Photo courtesy of Beki Hughes

For lunch, Felicia whisked me away to Rosa’s Cafe, and I am crushed that we don’t have one here at home. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was fun!

During and after the conference there was a little time for a few more pictures…

It was a full house!
You’re never too young to learn sound doctrine!
Photo courtesy of Morgan Lynn
FBC Lindale brought a group of 41 women to the conference!
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buck
Beki, Jennifer, Michelle, Robin Self
I love these ladies!
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Buck

And all too soon, it was time to head home.

Many thanks to Felicia, Melodie, Carrie, the pastors, elders, and all of the other ladies and gentlemen of The Church at Pecan Creek who worked so hard to host a great conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Denton area, be sure to stop in to TCPC for a visit!

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

As marked.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Faithful Conference

I had a wonderful time last week sharing and fellowshipping with the ladies of Providence Bible Church (and the surrounding area) in lovely Culpeper, Virginia, at the Faithful conference!

I arrived in Culpeper on Thursday evening, so there was plenty of time to rest up and prepare before the conference.

My hosts for the weekend were the perky Miss Katie and her aptly named husband, Happy. They live in a beautiful home on the lake, and I loved hearing their testimony of coming to Christ, and to each other!

My view while working Friday morning
Some sweet hostess gifts were waiting in my room

Friday, Katie was kind enough to treat me to a delicious Italian lunch followed by a little sightseeing.

Culpeper is home to the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress’ National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, “where the Library of Congress acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings.”. On my trip to Faber, Virginia, last year, I learned that the local flavor is often captured in a LOVE (“Virginia is for lovers”) sculpture. Culpeper’s is made of film reels, paying tribute to the Conservation Center.

We also stopped by Culpeper National Cemetery. Originally established in 1867 as a burial ground for Union soldiers who were killed in the area during the Civil War, the cemetery is now the final resting place for over 7500 of our nation’s heroes.

Friday night, it was time to get down to the business of teaching and studying God’s Word. (Conference audio/video will be available on PBC’s website as soon as they’re able to get it processed and posted.)

After check in and worship…

Check out what was in the ladies’ “swag bags”! I really liked the little packet of memory verses (about faithfulness, of course!) with the wooden card holder. What a great idea!
These ladies did a wonderful job leading us in song and prayer

…we kicked things off with Faithful to the Word, a teaching session on the basics of how to study the Bible.

Next up was a hearty baked potato bar for dinner in the gym. Didn’t the planning committee do a fabulous job of decorating?

Don’t you love how all the flowers match the flower art on the Faithful materials (programs, PR materials, etc.)? I love continuity of theme, and these ladies did it spectacularly!

Isn’t this rough-hewn bench gorgeous? You can see it sitting under the arbor in the picture taking area in the photo above. Heather Edgecombe, wife of PBC’s pastor, Jarred, is the one who initially reached out to me last year to speak at the Faithful conference. A few months into planning, her cancer recurred, and, sadly, she was unable to attend the conference due to undergoing treatment for it. A husband and wife team created this masterpiece to raise money for Heather’s treatment. Y’all take a moment to pray for Heather, please.

Our last session for the evening was Faithful to Our Roles, discussing the beauty of the biblical role of women in the home and in the church. The ladies then broke into discussion groups to talk over the material.

Saturday morning started bright and early with Faithful Discernment. What is discernment, and how can you tell if what you’re being taught matches up with Scripture? Faithful in Suffering was our final teaching session. As Christians, there’s a hero for our suffering, there’s hope in our suffering, and, in Christ, there’s a way to handle our suffering.


After teaching, the ladies rejoined their discussion groups to share what they had learned.

Our last gathering was a fun time of Q&A.

Ladies from all over Virginia and from as far away as Tennessee, Kentucky, New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina came out for Faithful! It was a great turn out!

Lunch and fellowship was a great way to end the day!

Just a bit more sightseeing before heading home – we passed by the Pentagon on the way to the airport. I was told this was the side of the building that the plane crashed into on 9/11. Sobering.

Many thanks to Heather, Julie, Lesley, Katie and Happy, Danielle and Rob, and all of the other ladies and gentlemen of Providence Bible Church who worked so hard to make Faithful a great conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Culpeper area, be sure to stop in to PBC for a visit!

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 Michelle in front of “LOVE” sculpture by Katie Hash.

Photos marked “1”- Photographer unknown (if it was you , let me know so I can credit you! :0)

Photo marked “2” by Melissa Morris

Photos marked “3” by Julie Smith

Photo marked “4” by Lesley Lezcano

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Women’s Advance Conference

What a joy it was to fellowship and share with the ladies of Agape Bible Church and several sister churches, last week in charming Willits, California, at the Women’s Advance Conference!

It was a little frosty!

I arrived in Willits late Thursday night and checked in to the lovely Baechtel Creek Inn. Now, I wouldn’t normally take the time to recommend a hotel to you, but I travel a lot and I stay in a lot of hotels, and two things most of them don’t have is good water pressure in the shower and decent lighting in the bathroom for applying makeup. Baechtel Creek Inn has both in spades. So if you’re ever in the area and need a place to stay, I highly recommend it.

Friday’s festivities started off with lunch with the conference organizers at a cute little sandwich boutique called The Loose Caboose Cafe.

In addition to great food, The Loose Caboose has an homage wall to Seabiscuit, the famous racehorse. Seabiscuit retired to Willits, and is buried at Willits’ own Ridgewood Ranch. (The Baechtel Creek Inn has a Seabiscuit themed room, too, if you’re a fan and want to visit.)

Friday night, it was time to get down to the business of teaching and studying God’s Word.

I love the big posters a lot of the conferences are using lately for signage and to decorate. Here’s some of the print work that greeted conference attendees.

The theme of Women’s Advance 2022 was Finding Hope, Peace, and Victory in Times of Suffering. In our first session Friday night, we studied Isaiah 53, exploring how and why Christ suffered. I don’t know whether or not the audio from the conference sessions will be made public, but if not, you might enjoy reading my article, Christ- the Suffering Servant, on which session 1 was based.

Each session started with worship music led by
these sweet ladies: Kelly, Cindy, and Julie.

Saturday morning the ladies were treated to a continental breakfast, followed by our first teaching session on having a biblical view of suffering, which was drawn from my articles True or False: Is Your Theology of Suffering Biblical? and God’s Good Purposes in Suffering. Our final teaching session was all about how to respond biblically to suffering. You can find some of the thoughts I shared with the ladies in my articles Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering and Band-Aids vs. Chemotherapy: Why Suffering Women are Drawn to False Doctrine and 7 Things We Can do to Help.

Next up was a delicious lunch of hearty soups, salad, and dessert, followed by our last conference session – a super Q&A where some very astute ladies asked some very good questions!

ABC’s Pastor Paul Henebury was so kind to make sure that before I left, I was given an autographed copy of his latest book, The Words of the Covenant. It looks like a great read! Thank you, Pastor Paul!

Many thanks to Julie, Cindy, Chris, and all of the other ladies and gentlemen of Agape Bible Church who worked so hard to make Women’s Advance 2022 a great conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Willits area, be sure to stop in to ABC for a visit!

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 Baechtel Creek Inn courtesy of HotelGuides.com.

Photos of Michelle speaking by Julie Davidson.

Photo of book cover courtesy of Amazon.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Walk in the Word Conference

I had a such a wonderful time at the Walk in the Word women’s conference at New Prospect Baptist Church, sharing with the ladies of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, and many from the surrounding areas.

A few shots of the scenery. Lawrenceburg is a charming town – exactly the size I’d want to live in if given the choice and if I had to move.

NPBC put me up in a very nice, new hotel. Getting settled in, this is the sign that greeted me as I exited the elevator and started searching for my room. It cracked me up every time I saw it, so I thought I’d share it. Maybe I’m missing something (perhaps a degree in calculus, engineering, or metaphysics?), but I don’t see the logic here. Do you?

After I arrived Thursday night, Kendra, Charissa, and Donna fed me well at the wonderful Brass Lantern restaurant, where I just fell in love with Johnny’s Famous Fruit Tea. Fruit tea is a regional favorite in Middle Tennessee – sweet tea with pineapple juice, orange juice, and lemonade (move over, Arnold Palmer!). Here, I found a recipe for you if you’d like to try it.

Friday’s events started with a lunch date with NPBC’s pastors’ wives at Strikers Steakhouse, and possibly the best salad with grilled chicken I’ve ever eaten. It was so great to chat with other sisters in Christ about parenting, church, women’s ministry, and other issues dear to our hearts.

Friday night, we got things underway with session 1 on biblical womanhood, Rock Your Role at Home and at Church. It was encouraging to explore the beauty and value in God’s Creative design for women and the roles He has set aside for us.

Pre- and post-conference fellowship, door prizes,
and beautiful autumn decorations.

After a fun break for fellowship and desserts, came our second session, Suffering. Everybody goes through suffering at some point. The Bible teaches us to look to Jesus, the hero of our suffering, so we can take hope in our suffering, and biblically handle our suffering.

Each of the four sessions started off with worship music from these lovely ladies. Three part harmony? Yes, please. It was obvious that they worked hard in preparation to present a fragrant offering to the Lord in song.

Saturday morning’s first session was Practical Holiness. What does it mean to pursue holiness? In this session we took a look at how the Bible defines holiness and how to practice holiness in our daily lives.

And after a delicious lunch of grilled chicken, veggies, and absolutely heavenly cheesecake, was our final session, Hooked on a Feeling. Are you living life according to your feelings and emotions? This session was all about biblical and practical ways to live according to God’s Word instead.

These were both from Hooked on a Feeling. On the left is a quote from the session made into a meme by one of the sweet ladies who attended. On the right is a screenshot of notes taken by Chloe – a darling 9 year old young lady. In case your eyes are as old as mine, it says, “God is not a bad master. He is a just and true and kind master.” Chloe, you are a good listener, and I love your tepee! (I sometimes doodle while I’m taking notes, too. It helps me think. :0)

Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to support Hope Haven, “a Christ-centered ministry offering life-affirming services to women and teens who are facing an unplanned pregnancy crisis.” Women were invited to take a baby bottle home and fill it – not with formula, but with funding, to help this wonderful ministry. I thought this was a super idea for a women’s conference. Maybe you’d like to try it at your next women’s event.

Many thanks to Charissa, Kendra and Dave, Donna, Cheryl, and all of the ladies and gentlemen of New Prospect Baptist Church who worked so hard to make Walk in the Word a great conference, took care of all my needs, and made me feel so welcome. If you’re ever in the Lawrenceburg area, be sure to stop in to NPBC for a visit!

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

Restaurant photos courtesy of each respective restaurant.

Of the remaining photos, about half were taken by me (Michelle Lesley) and half by Charissa Kilburn or one of the other ladies at the conference. They got so mixed up, I’m not sure which are which. Just assume if it’s a good picture, I didn’t take it. :0) They are all used by permission.