Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Waterford, California Conference

I had a super time last week sharing with the wonderful ladies of Waterford, California, at First Southern Baptist Church’s women’s conference.

This was my first time traveling to northern California, and I’m indebted to everyone who took the time to show me around and tell me all about the things that make this area of the country so special, especially Pastor Greg, and the delightful couple who hosted me in their home, Lisa and Curt.

The Waterford area is covered with almond and walnut groves. This is a picturesque almond grove across the street from Curt and Lisa’s house.

Another of Curt and Lisa’s neighbors has recently acquired a few llamas. Aren’t they cute! Don’t worry, we didn’t get close enough for them to spit on us. (When I posted one of these pictures on social media, several folks corrected me that these are alpacas, not llamas. I’m no expert, and that may very well be, but here’s what I read that led me to the llama label. If I’m wrong, I stand corrected! :0)

Curt is the head of South Blossom Designs. He crafts phenomenal cutting boards, chopping blocks, serving boards, and other specialty artisan wood items. Go get a jump on your Christmas shopping!

These are some of the awesome hostess gifts and snacks from the ladies of FSBC. Those walnuts are straight from a local grove and were so fresh! And, of course, Cheerwine is my favorite, and is hard to come by where I live.

Friday night of the conference kicked off with a delicious steak dinner grilled by the fantastic men of FSBC. I also want to put a word in for one of the drink options, which was a cocktail of cranberry juice, Hawaiian Punch, and Sprite. That was super good.

And check out these lovely decorations:

Next up was our first teaching session: The Authority, Sufficiency, and Necessity of Scripture. God’s Word is vital to our lives as Christian women, sufficient to instruct us in the ways of life and godliness, and we are beholden to Scripture as the ultimate authority over our lives.

Saturday morning, after the ladies were treated to breakfast, it was time to get down to business with session two of the conference: Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. How can we tell the difference between the biblical and the cheap, unbiblical knock off? We looked at some scriptural and practical ways.

Our final session was a stimulating Q&A with lots of insightful questions. These ladies know their stuff! Afterward, it was fun getting to chat with several of the attendees:


When I travel, instead of buying souvenirs, I like to try whatever food is iconic to that area (clam chowder in Cape Cod, Chicago-style pizza, etc.). California doesn’t really have a specific iconic food, but In-N-Out is pretty close for me because I always see people raving about it online, and we don’t have In-N-Out here in Louisiana. So, for a special post-conference treat, Lisa took me to In-N-Out so I could see what all the fuss was about.

My verdict (the short version): It was good, but 5 Guys (which we do have here) is just as good. (You can check out the slightly longer version here.)

I also got to try some northern California style Mexican food (which is different from the southern New Mexico style Mexican food I grew up on and the Tex-Mex Louisiana offers), which was excellent, and a delectable Latin dish called Chipotle Milanesa at Cafe Bravo in Oakdale.

All too soon, it was time to head back home. I even got a few good pictures from the plane:

Looks like some of the mountains already got a light dusting of snow.

Considering our flight plan, I’m almost sure this is part of the Grand Canyon. It’s kind of hard to tell from the pictures, I guess. And, I didn’t get a picture of it, but I saw a dam that sure looked like it was the Hoover Dam, which also would have been in keeping with our flight plan. Besides Tiger Stadium all lit up at night at LSU, those are the coolest things I’ve ever seen from a plane.

Nothing special, and the lighting is terrible, I just really like the geometric pattern of these circular, square and triangular fields.

Many thanks to Pastor Greg, Lisa, Curt, and all of the ladies and gentlemen of FSBC who worked so hard to put on a great conference and made me feel so at home. If you’re ever in the Waterford, California, area, be sure to stop by and visit First Southern Baptist Church of Waterford.


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 chopping block courtesy of South Blossom Designs.

All photos and videos of Michelle by Lisa Cowan.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Rooted in Christ Conference

What a pleasure it was to share with the wonderful ladies of Ekalaka Bible Church in beautiful Ekalaka, Montana, for the Rooted In Christ Conference.

I flew into Rapid City, South Dakota, which is just down the road from Mt. Rushmore. Since I had never been there before, Pastor Jon, his lovely wife Kati, and their super sweet kiddos, Liam and Evangeline, were kind enough to take me there for a quick tourist stop before we headed north for Ekalaka.

As if taking me to Mt. Rushmore weren’t gracious enough, they also drove me up into Black Hills National Forest where we saw Spearfish Canyon and Bridal Veil Falls. I was there a little too early in the year for the full fall color “leaf peeping” experience, but one species of tree (no idea which one) had already turned an eye-popping yellow, and those were absolutely exquisite.

As we headed up toward Ekalaka, we passed through Belle Fourche, South Dakota, where the geographic center of the United States is located, as well as Sturgis, South Dakota, home of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Along the way, it was fun to see small herds of deer and antelope roaming the open fields. And have you ever seen such a beautiful sunset?

The natural beauty of Montana is stunning. Kati has quite a way with flowers. Look at these beauties at her house:

Saturday afternoon was day one of the conference, and the ladies of EBC had things looking spiffy. Check out these charming decorations:

Session one was Walking in Biblical Womanhood. We took a look – mostly from Genesis – at God’s perfect creative design for womanhood. After a delicious homemade lasagna supper, it was time for session two: Walking In Biblical Womanhood. God wants us to fill out Creation with godly womanhood, not buy into the feminist narrative that we have to be exactly like men to have any value.

Do I laugh at my own jokes? It’s a dirty job,
but somebody’s got to do it! :0)
Chatting after the conference

After a warm time of worship with the EBC branch of the family Sunday morning, it was time for day two of the conference that afternoon. Our first session was a stimulating Q&A with lots of insightful questions. Following another hearty supper of homemade soups and sandwiches, our final session was Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. How can we tell the difference between the biblical and the cheap, unbiblical knock off? We looked at some scriptural and practical ways.

Door prizes
My lovely hostess gifts from the ladies of EBC. The pendants each have a line from a hymn in them. Kati picked out this water bottle before she even knew I was going to be speaking on the Armor of God passage! Providence!

Bright and early (well, actually, it was really early so it wasn’t bright yet) Monday morning, I had to say goodbye to the delightful town of Ekalaka and wing my way back home. On my first flight I had the pleasure of sitting next to a very nice lady named Jodie. She and her husband were flying home from visiting some of the same sites I had seen in South Dakota, and she was kind enough to show me her pictures. Some of the pictures were of the crafts she creates and sells in her Etsy shop, and they were just so adorable and well crafted that I had to share them with you. Head on over and do some early Christmas shopping at Jodieshappyhill. (And I believe she might add some more items, so you may want to check back every now and then.)

Many thanks to Pastor Jon, Kati, the kind ladies I had lunch with on Saturday and Sunday, and all of the conference attendees and members of EBC for your warm hospitality and for making my trip so memorable. If you ever find yourself in rural southeastern Montana, I highly recommend you make it a point to visit with the fine brothers and sisters of Ekalaka Bible Church.


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 of Michelle speaking / chatting, conference dinner by Kati Champlin.

Sunset photo by Tina Brady.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Nashville, Arkansas, Women’s Conference

It was such a joy to be with the ladies in the Nashville, Arkansas area again at Maranatha Baptist Church’s 2021 women’s conference.

When I first saw this sign, there was a beautiful herd of cows behind it, but by the time I had a chance to take pictures, they had moooved on to greener pastures!

Last year at MBC’s conference, I spoke on biblical womanhood. This year, we tackled the topic of discernment in session one: Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. How can we tell the difference between the biblical and the cheap, unbiblical knock off? We looked at some scriptural and practical ways. Modesty seems to be a current kerfuffle in evangelicalism, so dressing our bodies while addressing our hearts was the order of business for session two. Next was a delicious chicken salad lunch (with some out of this world cookies for dessert!). And, wow, did these ladies have some smart and insightful questions in our final Q&A session!

If you like, you can listen to the audio from these teaching sessions at MBC’s Sermon Audio page as soon as they’re posted. (The modesty session was a condensed version of the three part podcast series on modesty Amy and I recorded earlier this year on A Word Fitly Spoken.)

Hostess gifts

One of the things traveling for speaking engagements has taught me is a deeper appreciation and longing for graciousness, generosity, and hospitality, which all seem to flow so naturally from the many pastors and women’s ministry directors I’ve worked with. Those are not things at which I feel I excel, but I aspire for God to grow me in those areas. My hosts, Margaret and Tom, as well as Pastor Bruce, and everyone at MBC were so kind and treated me like a queen.

Benjamin keeping us on the road.

And last, but not least, see this guy? This is my second to youngest (19) son Benjamin. Some of you may have heard me mention on the podcast (A Word Fitly Spoken), that Benjamin is our producer, which he does out of the goodness of his heart and on top of a nearly full time job, plus church responsibilities and activities. This young man insisted on taking off work to spend two full days driving me to and from the conference and serving as my handler during the trip. I didn’t have to lift a finger for anything, and had everything I needed, thanks to him. I hope I’m not embarrassing him, but I’m just so grateful to God for blessing us with such a fine, godly young man for a son.

I had an awesome trip to Arkansas, and it was such an honor to teach the lovely ladies of Nashville. Many thanks to Margaret, Tom, Pastor Bruce, and all the hard-working men and women of Maranatha Baptist 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 Arkansas 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 of Michelle speaking by Benjamin Lesley.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Staying on the Path Conference

I had such a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching recently with the ladies of Providence Baptist Church in Opelika, Alabama, and their guests from the surrounding area, at the Staying on the Path in a World of Compromise women’s conference.

PBC was the staging area for disaster relief operations following the devastating tornado in the area in March of 2019. A beautiful memorial to the victims has been erected on the church grounds.

Providence’s WOVEN (Women Of the Vine Encouraging and Nurturing) women’s ministry put on a fantastic conference.

Everything was so nice and no detail was left unattended…

Here are some of the charming ladies who attended the conference…

I had the pleasure of teaching three sessions, God’s Word, Our Foundation – on the necessity, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture, Discernment 101 – an introduction to discerning false doctrine and false teachers, and a great Q&A session where these ladies asked some really smart questions! (Sorry, no audio of the conference sessions at this time.)

Hostess bags are never necessary for a speaker, but I’m always so humbled and grateful to receive a special treat like this, especially after a long, tiring day of traveling. Although the contents are appreciated, the gesture of hospitality and caring is so precious and meaningful to me. I’m not especially gifted in that area, and I so admire sisters in Christ who are.

April, WOVEN’s director, machine embroidered the bag (notice the monogram
on the bag is LSU purple and gold!) and the hand towel herself. So pretty!

Many, many thanks to the conference organizers, especially April and Lynda, for taking such good care of me and making me feel so at home. It was a pleasure fellowshipping with them and with the ladies who attended the conference.


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 by others credited in captions

Remaining photos by Michelle Lesley

Uncategorized

Blog Orientation for New Readers and Old Friends

I try to run this article every so often to orient new followers (and old friends who haven’t yet explored all the nooks and crannies of the blog) to the various features and information available here. I hope you’ll find these resources helpful.

Welcome Tab If you haven’t had a chance to read the Welcome & FAQs- Start Here tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, it’s a good way to get acclimated to the blog quickly. You’ll learn some fast facts about me, my comment and e-mail policies, and more.

Comments, E-mails, Social Media Messages If you’ve sent me an e-mail, submitted a comment on one of my articles, or sent me a private message on social media and I haven’t responded to the message or published the comment, this is why: E-mail, Messages, and Blog Comments Policy (Plus additional helpful information) (A little note to those who have submitted a church for inclusion on my “Reader Recommended Churches” list in the past few weeks: Thank you so much for your patience. I promise I haven’t been ignoring you, I’ve just been swamped lately, and it does take a bit of time for me to vet them. You’re at the top of my “to do” list.)

The search bar is your friend. If you want to know my take on something or whether I’ve written on a particular person or topic, the search bar is the best place to start and much faster than e-mailing or messaging me. The search bar is located at the very bottom of every blog page. 

The tabs at the top are your friends, too. The tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of the blog are designed to provide quick information to many of the questions I’m most frequently asked.

“What do you think of Teacher X?” Probably the largest volume of questions I get is readers wanting to know my take on particular teachers and ministries. I would love to be able to respond immediately to each one, but it takes a tremendous amount of time to research these folks. Because I know you need answers right away, and because every Christian should know how to research teachers for herself (you should never just blindly take anyone’s word {including mine} that someone is a false teacher), if you can’t find the information you’re looking for on a certain teacher at the Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends tab at the top of this page or by using the search bar, I’ve written this article to help you research teachers for yourself: Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own.

“Discernment is for doody-heads!” I understand it’s not easy to be told that a pastor/teacher/author you’ve grown to love is a false teacher. I’ve been in that position myself. But Christians are people of the Book. That means we measure everything by Scripture, not by our personal preferences, feelings, or opinions. I’ve written numerous articles on teachers and ministries which can be found under the Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends tab (and, just a few of the many awesome teachers out there are under the Recommended Bible Teachers tab). I don’t warn against false teachers because I’m a hater. I do it because it’s Scriptural and because I love the Christian women who are being victimized – often without even knowing it – by false teachers. I tend to hear the same objections to my discernment articles over and over and over again. Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections answers, from Scripture, the objections people raise to my discernment articles. (I don’t answer e-mails or publish comments that are answered by this article.)

Church Ladies Complementarianism can be difficult to navigate in a feminist world and an increasingly feminist church. You might find my Rock Your Role article series helpful, since it deals with the Scriptures governing women’s roles in the church. I keep Rock Your Role FAQs updated, so long time readers might be interested in giving that one a re-read.

Searching for a new church? It can be really hard to find a doctrinally sound church these days, and I’d like to do everything I can to help. Check out the Searching for a new church? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. You’ll find tons of resources on what to look for in a good church, several church search engines, and churches recommended by readers.

Podcast Need something to listen to? Amy Spreeman and I have a weekly podcast called A Word Fitly SpokenClick the Podcast tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page to check it out.

Conferences/Events Want to see if I’ll be speaking at an event near you? Check out the Calendar of Events at my Speaking Engagements tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page for more information.

Speaking Engagements/Podcasts I’d love to come speak at your Christian women’s conference, to the ladies of your church, or on your Christian podcast. Check out my Speaking Engagements tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page for more information. I’ve got lots of open slots on my 2022 calendar, so check it out and drop me an e-mail.

Financial Support I don’t receive any income or compensation from blogging. But if you or your family have been blessed by my work and you’d like to be a blessing to me and my family in return on an ongoing, occasional, or one time basis, please click here.