Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Reliance on God and His Word Women’s Conference

It was such a blessing to speak last weekend at Princeton Bible Church’s Reliance on God and His Word women’s conference. I was tremendously encouraged, and I hope you will be too as I share a bit about the conference with you.

PBC is beautiful and homey

Thursday evening was a delicious potluck dinner with the ladies of PBC. I’ve learned two things from traveling around to different churches: 1) church ladies are the same everywhere you go (And why wouldn’t we be? We’re all sisters in the same family!) so I always feel at home, and 2) church ladies know how to cook! A wonderful time of good food and sweet fellowship was had by all (which is why I forgot to take a picture – I was too busy enjoying myself!).

Amy Spreeman and me

On Friday, at long last, I got to meet my dear friend, Amy Spreeman, for the first time face to face. What a gift this woman is to the body of Christ! Intelligent and well-studied, wrapped in the grace, humility, and compassion becoming of a woman of God, Amy is a joy and a delight. It has been my pleasure to recommend Amy and her uber-helpful materials at Berean Research and Berean Examiner many times here at the blog. I was honored to share the stage with her at the conference.

Getting ready for the first session

Friday night was the opening conference session. My talk centered around the theme of the conference, Reliance on God and His Word, and dealt with the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, and the necessity of God’s Word in our daily lives.

Saturday’s festivities kicked off with an ample breakfast in the gym for all. Sustenance is necessary for a full day of Bible teaching!

Amy’s main sessions and breakout session centered around discernment, false gospels, and the New Apostolic Reformation. I found the sessions helpful and informative, and I’m sure all the other ladies did, as well.

My main session explored applying the sufficiency and authority of God’s word to our every day lives in the areas of obedience and godly decision-making. In my breakout session we discussed the application of Scripture when dealing with situations of sin and suffering.

The ladies were also treated to sessions from one of the lovely ladies of PBC, Deb Bullington, as well as a missionary who spoke about her experiences.

You can listen to the audio from the conference at PBC’s website.

First Thessalonians 5:18 was a verse I used in one of my sessions, so I was delighted to see this hanging just outside the sanctuary.

A long day of teaching, fellowshipping, and answering questions builds up quite an appetite, so after parting from these wonderful women of God, PBC’s Pam, Erika, and Erika’s husband, Mike, whisked me off to The Prime Quarter Steak House where I continued my travel tradition of eschewing souvenirs in favor of eating the food most iconic to the locale – in this case, hearty Midwestern beef.

The Prime Quarter offers the option of grilling your own steak!
I decided I had had enough excitement for one day and left it to the professionals.

I loved seeing the picturesque farmland of Illinois.
This beauty is right across the street from the church.

PBC’s women’s committee kindly made sure I got some souvenirs anyway: regionally harvested honey, locally made chocolates, a magnet of Princeton, and a journal (which just happens to have my favorite flower {pink roses} and a verse from my favorite Psalm {37} on the front).

After a lovely Sunday morning service worshiping with my brothers and sisters at PBC, it was time to say goodbye. Many thanks to Pam, Erika, Mike, Justin, Curtis, Jessica, and all the hard-working men and women of Princeton 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 the Princeton area who is looking for a doctrinally sound body of Believers to join.

If your church 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:

1- Photos courtesy of Princeton Bible Church
2- Photo courtesy of Amy Spreeman
3- Photos courtesy of The Prime Quarter Steakhouse (Facebook)
(All other photos by Michelle Lesley)

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Memphis

A couple of weekends ago I had the blessing of speaking at Providence Baptist Church’s spring women’s conference. It was such an encouraging experience I wanted to share a little about it with you.

Pastor Kelly & Gayle Smith, Scott & Michelle Lesley

What a joy it was to finally meet my Twitter friend Gayle, who heads up the women’s ministry at Providence, and her husband, Pastor Kelly. PBC generously and graciously hosted not only me, but also my husband and two of our sons, for the weekend. After we arrived in Memphis Friday afternoon and got settled in to our lovely hotel rooms – hospitably stocked by Gayle with every snack two teenage boys (and their parents!) could dream of, as well as some charming locally made gifts – Gayle and Kelly took us out for – what else? – barbecue!

Corky’s BBQ not only had this amazing sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, they had a phenomenal Memphis specialty, the Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich. They marinate the chicken filet in sweet tea overnight before frying it. There are not words, y’all. You’ll just have to find a Corky’s and order this delicacy for yourself.

On Saturday, the gents set off to see the sights of Memphis, including the iconic Memphis Pyramid, which now houses a spacious Bass Pro Shop (yeah, you might have to be Southern to grasp the attraction)…

…while I was treated to the sights of a beautifully bedecked PBC, all set to welcome the ladies coming to the conference.


(Trust me, if you want to be sure
the women of your church see something,
put a flier in the ladies room!) 

One of the primary issues Christian women need instruction on today is the centrality of the Bible in our lives and our churches, so that was the core message of the two sessions I taught. In the morning session, The Necessity of the Bible, we focused on the fact that Scripture is the very words from the lips of God Himself, our desperate need for the Bible, and practical ways to import more of God’s Word into our daily lives.

After a delicious luncheon and warm fellowship, we gathered again for Recapturing Sola Scriptura: The Sufficiency and Authority of Scripture. In this session, we zeroed in on the folly of extrabiblical revelation, the supremacy of God’s Word, and the need for our lives and our churches to be ruled by rightly handled Scripture.

You can read some of what I spoke about in my Basic Training series articles:

The Bible is Necessary
The Bible is Sufficient
The Bible is Our Authority

I couldn’t have asked for a kinder reception
or a sweeter group of ladies!

There was just enough time for a brief rest, and then it was off to another Memphis favorite, Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken, for supper. These folks know how to do chicken spicy, just like I like it!

Sunday morning was a warm time of worship and fellowship with the saints at PBC under the excellent preaching of Pastor Kelly. What a kind and welcoming church body this is! If you’re looking for a friendly, doctrinally sound church in the Memphis area, I couldn’t recommend one more highly than Providence Baptist of Bartlett.

If your church 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:

1- Photos courtesy of Gayle Smith, Providence Baptist Church
2- Photo courtesy of Corky’s Memphis (Facebook)
(All other photos by Michelle Lesley)

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: New Jersey

Last weekend I had a wonderful time speaking at Corbin City Baptist Church’s women’s conference and fellowshipping with some sweet, godly sisters (and their equally awesome pastor!). I wanted to share a bit about it with y’all, my co-laborers in Christ.

After Randy (CCBC’s pastor), Cathy (his wife), and Linda (who graciously opened her home to me for the weekend) picked me up from the Philadelphia airport, we went to Adelphia Restaurant for supper- a must visit if you’re ever in the area. Great food and a fun atmosphere.

A good night’s sleep was had by all, and the next morning it was conference time! I taught two sessions: Foundations of Discernment: The Centrality of Christ, His Word, and His Bride and Discernment 101, followed later by a Q&A session, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (Normally, I would re-post the conference sessions here on the blog in article form, but both were largely drawn from my Basic Training articles, Is She a False Teacher?, Clinging to the Golden Calf, Popular False Teachers, and other discernment articles.)

Several of the ladies drove quite a way to attend the conference, as doctrinally sound churches are few and far between in the Northeast. There was a broad range of spiritual maturity and experience represented, but these ladies were sharp, attentive, receptive, and asked great questions. I sensed a real hunger among them for sound doctrine and the unadulterated truth of God’s word. What an encouragement it was to be with them!

The lovely ladies of CCBC

And, speaking of hunger, CCBC’s ladies put on a lovely brunch with a seaside theme between the two sessions. They also presented me with a humongous tote bag full of goodies and New Jersey souvenirs. These ladies treated me like a queen and epitomized biblical hospitality and kindness. It was extremely humbling and I was deeply honored.

After the conference, Cathy, Linda, and another CCBC sister, Theresa, whisked me off to the Ocean City boardwalk, which would have been worth the trip solely for the mouth-watering aromas wafting from dozens of food stands. Oh. my. good. ness. I’d like to stay for about a week and eat my way from one end to the other! We stopped at Shriver’s, a huge candy shop famous for its fudge and salt water taffy, where we got to watch part of the process of taffy-making.

I was so sorry I hadn’t been able to bring my husband and children with me. They would have loved the arcades, mini golf, ferris wheel, water slides, shops, and, of course, the beach. It was unbelievably kind of Cathy to buy some world famous Johnson’s Popcorn to send back to my kiddos.

              Wonderland Arcade                    Johnson’s Popcorn

Those dots in the sky are people parasailing

It was fun to walk back across the intracoastal waterway bridge to the car, and the breeze coming off the ocean was cool and energizing. It was the perfect appetite-builder for an awesome dinner of fish and chips (I love that they put Old Bay spice on the “chips”!) before heading back to the house, and a much needed soak in Linda’s relaxing hot tub.

Sunday, it was such a joy to worship with the CCBC family and sit under Randy’s excellent expository preaching. After hugs goodbye, it was time to head back to the airport. I had a wonderful time chatting about ministry with Cathy and Randy on the way. When we stopped for lunch, I had the opportunity to try one more specialty food of the area: scrapple. Not too bad, but I think I’ll stick with the taffy and fish ‘n’ chips!

It was a wonderful trip filled with such sweet people. Would you take just a moment right now to pray for Pastor Randy and our brothers and sisters at CCBC? And, if you live in, or travel to, the Corbin City area, I highly recommend visiting Corbin City Baptist Church.

There’s a historic bell up in that tower
that they still ring every Sunday!

If your church 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:

1- Photo courtesy of Adelphia Restaurant, Deptford, New Jersey
2- Photos courtesy of Leslie Kohler, Corbin City Baptist Church
(All other photos by Michelle Lesley)

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Cape Cod

Last weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at a Christian women’s conference in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with a lovely group of godly women, and, since many have asked about it and prayed for me, I wanted to share a little about the trip.

I arrived in Boston Thursday evening and was met by Maria, one of the women’s ministry leaders. She and her husband were kind enough to open their home to me the first night of my trip.

You know you’re in a good host home
when you find these on the night table!

Friday morning I finally got to meet my precious Twitter friend, DebbieLynne, in person. DebbieLynne is actually the one who recommended me as speaker for this conference. Thanks, Deb! (If you don’t already follow her blog, The Outspoken Tulip, check it out!)

This is what it looks like when, instead of “cheese,”
you say, “Everybody say ‘false teachers’!”
to a couple of discernment divas.

Friday afternoon, we arrived at the hotel in Cape Cod and got settled in. Then the women’s ministry leaders took me out for a lovely dinner. When I travel, I always like to try whatever dish that area is best known for, so, of course I ordered some clam chowder. It was great!

When this restaurant says a “cup” of soup,
that’s exactly what they mean!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel, and I taught the first of four sessions on the topic of suffering: Christ, the Suffering Servant.

Something pretty amazing happened Saturday after the morning session on The Theology of Suffering. I was standing near the exit door as closing announcements were being made, and a hotel worker (I’ll call her “Linda”) opened the door a few inches and motioned for me to come out into the hall with her. Linda asked me what who this group was and what was going on, so I explained that it was a group of ladies from a nearby church who had come to the hotel for a conference.

Linda then began to pour out her heart to me, that, in addition to her father’s recent death, her daughter’s medical problems, and her own health issues, she had been struggling with alcoholism. She felt too shy to go to a group recovery meeting and wanted to know if there were someone in our group who could help her one on one. I stepped back into the conference room and retrieved Julie, the pastor’s wife, hoping she might have some resources that could help Linda.

After hearing Linda’s story, Julie stepped back into the conference room and retrieved Maureen. Guess what? Maureen and her husband have a long standing ministry of one on one discipleship for people with substance abuse problems! We were able to pray and share the gospel with Linda and get her connected to Maureen for follow up.

Oh, and that talk I’d just been giving on the theology of suffering? My closing point was that one of God’s good purposes for suffering is that suffering can cause lost people to cry out to God for salvation. Lost people like Linda.

I was overwhelmed by God’s sovereignty in this situation. These ladies could have chosen a different weekend or a different hotel for this conference. Maureen could have skipped the conference. Linda could have called in sick that day or been too shy to stick her head in the door. My talk could have been about some other topic. But God kindly pulled back the veil a little and let us see how He orchestrated all of these things to bring the gospel to a suffering soul who needed Jesus.

Saturday afternoon, Maria and Julia graciously took me on a drive to see the sights around Cape Cod. Even though it was rainy, windy, and cold, the view from the coast was beautiful, as you can see.

  

I also got to see Nobska Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1876…

…and the oldest Episcopal church in Cape Cod, Church of the Messiah.

The church was founded in 1852,
with this stone structure being built in 1889.


Some people collect stamps.
I collect pictures of the steeples of churches I’ve visited. 

Unfortunately, this “church” now touts itself as “inclusive” (read: homosexuality affirming), committed to “environmental justice,” and is led by the “Reverend” Deborah.

After another awesome seafood dinner (I LOVE SEAFOOD!), we returned to the hotel, where I taught session 3 of the conference: Rejoicing in God’s Promises During Suffering.

Sunday morning was a sweet time of worship and fellowship, and the final session of the conference: The Christian’s Response to Suffering.

After a quick check out from the hotel, it was back to the airport in Boston for the ride home.

What a lovely weekend! When I’m teaching a group of ladies, I can always tell whether or not they sit under a good pastor, and this group certainly does. If you live in the Boston area and are looking for a good church, I could not recommend First Baptist Church, Weymouth, more highly.

If your church 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.

 

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Chicago

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As many of you know, last week I flew from Baton Rouge to Chicago to speak at Water’s Edge Bible Church’s annual ladies’ Christmas banquet. I had a lovely time, and, since many have asked, I wanted to share a bit about it with you.

I arrived in Chicago Wednesday afternoon and had the privilege of attending Wednesday night church at WEBC, which made me feel right at home (because that’s what I would have been doing Wednesday night if I had been at home): dinner and fellowship, followed by prayer time and Bible study. A perfect match to my own church’s Wednesday night schedule.

I attended the women’s Bible study class, taught by Pastor Jayson York’s wife, Lindsay. What a pleasure! Lindsay taught straight from the Bible and handled God’s word expertly. And I was very impressed by how biblically knowledgeable the ladies in the class were. It was a perfect example of how women’s Bible study ought to be done.

cypxtnqxgaae175Jayson and Lindsay York and me

Thursday was the only day during my short trip that I had time to do anything touristy, so Lindsay and a few of the other ladies from WEBC graciously took me out for authentic Chicago deep dish pizza for lunch. (My bucket list consists mainly of eating and visiting various churches- what can I say?) It was awesome! I enjoyed getting to know Lindsay and the other ladies better and hearing their stories. And, of course, the pizza was delicious. Lots of cheese- my favorite!

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If they’d had more cheese, I would have taken it.

Thursday evening, I spoke to about a hundred ladies. Now this is a church that runs about 120 on Sunday mornings, so it was quite an encouragement to have that many women there. WEBC uses this annual event partly as an outreach, so a significant percentage of the attendees were not members of WEBC, and many of them were unsaved.

cyoxie-xeaedyr4Some of the 100+ lovely ladies in attendance

The theme for the evening was “Pondering the Promise,” taken from Luke 2:19:

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

I spoke about some of God’s promises that Mary may have been pondering that are also God’s promises to us today that we should ponder, mainly the promise of the gospel. (I’ll share the entirety of my speech in article format here on the blog this Friday.)

15380847_1483790848328511_9018555034775383392_nIt cracked me up to see this on the door of
the ladies’ room- and in the stalls!
Smart way to advertise!

I was so blessed to speak to several of the ladies after the event who were thankful that the unsaved friends they had invited got to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. Another of the ladies e-mailed one of the event coordinators the following (identifying details removed for anonymity):

“[My two unsaved friends] and I had a very meaningful conversation after the event…if you communicate with Michelle Lesley again, please let her know that the prayers of the people in her church and our prayers were heard! [These two unsaved friends] are the two that always seemed to be the most interested in Christ of my friends…They are interested in knowing more about the gospel and reading the Bible!”

This sweet lady mentioned that my church had been praying. I didn’t go to Chicago as some sort of Lone Ranger. My church sent me out, and to me, that’s deeply meaningful. I’m humbled and grateful to my Sunday School class and my pastor for praying for me and the event, for the ladies who sent encouraging texts while I was gone, and for the opportunity to share about how it went when I got back. I’m also very touched and thankful for those of you who prayed for me and encouraged me. (And for those who have asked, I had no problems with stage fright at all- praise God!) Thank you for holding the rope.

15253573_1483790661661863_3061748588269341143_n-editedBeautiful Christmas cookies for dessert!

Though I was glad to get back home to my family, I regretted having to leave Chicago so soon. My host family, Mr. Ken and Mrs. Kathy, as well as Jayson and Lindsay, and everyone I met at WEBC were so kind, gracious, and hospitable. I think just about every member of the church came up to me at some point and told me he or she had been praying for me and for the event. If such things can be measured, I’m sure they were all much more encouraging to me than I was to them. If you find yourself in the Chicago area and looking for a good church to attend, I couldn’t recommend Water’s Edge Bible Church more highly.

If your church 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.