Bostic led the group with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and Alexander Delk gave the opening prayer. For devotion, she read Matthew 7:7 and Romans 15:4. She commented, “All of us at one time has had a bad experience and we didn’t know what to do and it seemed like our prayers just weren’t answered.”
She encouraged those present that whenever we have no idea as to what to do here on earth we can always go to the Bible, because it will always tell us what to do. She said, “We need to meditate on his word. The best place to find the Lord’s instructions is through Scripture and it is a safeguard, because he will never direct us in a way that violates his Holy Word.”
Bostic introduced guest speaker Larry Hawkins, who worked as an insurance salesman, electronics engineer, photography and real estate, and is now a Cleveland author.
Hawkins said he accepted the Lord as his savior at age 20 after he was “knocked down a few times to make him figure out what was going on,” as he puts it. But, he said with the help of the Holy Spirit, he was granted grace and mercy to see things clearly and he aspired to be a writer. “I started off writing love poems to my girlfriend at the age 11 and thanks to her, it grew and grew and I was able to expound upon the Word a little bit better,” he said.
Hawkins read a poem before the group titled, “He’s Mine.” He said, “That’s my testimony really — is that Jesus is mine and I’m proud to be able to say that since the age of 20. So for 43 years, He’s put up with me and he’s given me the opportunity to stand and profess my faith to him in a lot of different places.”
He was 3 years old, he said, when his parents moved to Ohio during the early 1950s trying to find work. Once when he went with his parents to a family reunion, he was left in the family car while still running. He sat there and sniffed the flumes until he became unconscious and started to turn blue. They found him in the back seat not breathing and presumably dead, so they rushed him to the hospital and was finally revived.
Later his mother told him, “Son, I want you to always remember that your work is not finished, God is not finished with you yet, until he is, you’ll be here,” he said. While Larry kept that in mind he has had 14 brushes with death and each time he would remember what his mother told him — God isn’t finished with him yet and to make the best of it. In 2004 he had a major heart attack and was pronounced dead and all efforts to revive him were given up. But Hawkins said that the Lord told him, “I’m not finished with you yet.”
Hawkins said, “And so, here I stand, a living testimony that God is not finished with us yet. So we keep striving to do what he wants us to do and in one day we’re going to do what he assigned for us and then we’ll get to go home.”
He told about his book about Joe Bradley Mullins, a mischievous 12-year-old boy in the story. Hawkins said, “He’s purely fictional, but to me he is one of my best friends. He is a part of my life as much as any of you would be if we were living next door to one another, because Joe Bradley has taken over my mental abilities, as little as they are. He has given me a reason to interact with other people.”
Hawkins said after his heart attack, he fell into a state of depression and for the next four or five years he did not speak to anyone nor left his house. At one point he went for two years without stepping out the front door. He could not handle anyone outside of his immediate family, he could not attend church due to his fear of being around strangers.
“The Lord finally took care of those needs,” he said. “I don’t think I ever contemplated suicide, but I did at some times welcome [the thought of death]. Had death occurred I would’ve been relieved.”
Hawkins said the book started out when his 3-year-old granddaughter would come over to spend the night with them on weekends. She would say, “Granddaddy it’s story time.” He would tell her about “The Three Bears,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and other kid stories, but the granddaughter wasn’t too impressed with those. So Hawkins would tell her stories about Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence in several different versions, then he used his granddaughter’s little boyfriend, Thomas Bradley, also 3 years old and her other friends to personalize the stories that he would tell her — thus the story character, Joe Bradley, was born, he said.
Hawkins said that if anybody wants to purchase one of his books and that they were released a week earlier on the official date and was on the shelf for sale in 28 different countries: India, Zimbabwe in Africa, Austria, Germany and Australia, just to name a few and printed in different languages also, He said people are excited about the book — Books A Million sold out, Barnes & Noble in Chattanooga sold out and Walmart sold out, also. “So somebody out there is reading about Joe Bradley,” he said.
“Book 2 is my favorite,” Hawkins said. “It just has so many more adventures in it that are challenging. One of my best parts is when he gets kidnapped and there’s so much action that takes place during the kidnapping, but the town comes together as a whole.”
The book is listed at $21.99 and he was selling them for $20 at the meeting. Larry said that he was given an initial number of books and only has 25 left and will not be receiving any more from the publisher.
Hawkins said that he had five of his poetry books and was selling them at $10 apiece that he prints off of his own computer. His book of poems covers all topics and “they are God inspired.” He said there was one poem made in reference to the American flag during the bicentennial in 1976 for America’s 200th birthday. Tennessee held a contest for a poem to celebrate the bicentennial, so Larry wrote the “Flag Of America” and it was declared a runner-up.
He also wrote, “A Lady So Rare,” about the Statue of Liberty and for the most part are small sermonettes, he said.
The door prize, compliments of Steve Robinson of Cleveland Plywood, was won by Calvin Davis. The second door prize was won by Paul Denton.
Others present at the meeting were: Ruby Ball, club recorder Shawn Markie, Kent Gunderson, Juanita Poteet, Barbara Tucker, Joyce Stapek, Lisa Morgan, Martha Ledford, Joe Ben Chase and Evelyn Denton.
The next monthly meeting will be held at Golden Corral Restaurant in Cleveland at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 26.
For more information on the United Club meetings contact Bostic at 479-9207, Charles or Joanie Lupo at 478-5766 or Markie at 476-5426.