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The Pastor’s Page™

Rev. Brian Eastman was called to serve as the pastor of Beaver UCC in August of 2008. Brian received his Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School (Newton, MA). He has worked as a seminarian at Second Church of Newton UCC (Newton, MA) and as a chaplaincy intern at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (Boston, MA). While at seminary, Brian also co-founded the Andover Newton Men’s Fellowship, worked in Theology and the Arts, traveled to China to study World Christianity, and was inducted into the Jonathan Edwards Society of Andover Newton. Prior to his calling to ministry, Brian received a Bachelor of Science degree from Guilford College (Greensboro, NC) in Physics. After college, Brian worked in Information Technology, working for academic institutions, large corporations, and dot-com startups. Other areas of ministry and theology that interest Brian are Science and Religion, Theology and the Arts, World Christianity, and serving the greater community through ecumenical work between churches. Pastor Brian currently lives in Dayton with his wife Amelia.

A visit from Pastor Brian

If you would like Pastor Brian to visit with you, or if you know someone that would enjoy a visit for any reason, please contact Pastor Brian. You may email Pastor Brian or call Pastor Brian at (937) 469-1383 at any time.

Pastor’s Office Hours

Tuesday: 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

The Pastor’s Peace™

Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Brian for your reflection and consideration, published monthly during the year, available in our printed Beaver Church Chatter newsletter and on our web site.*

2019

  • January

    Merry Christmas!!! Those of you reading this might think that old Pastor Brian got confused and doesn’t know it isn’t December. I am not confused because there are indeed 12 days of Christmas, and if you are reading this before the end of January 5th, then Merry Christmas!!! I guess a Happy New Year’s is in order as well, but that is just one day, and more importantly, it isn’t something we tend to forget. Christmas, however, is something that many think ends on December 25th, with trees and everything coming down the next day. Come December 26th you don’t hear a Merry Christmas for miles around. It is interesting that an event we have been preparing for during all of Advent and looking forward to with great delight is an event that we are so quick to move past. Perhaps we should focus more on celebrating Christ’s birth not only for those 12 days, but maybe even all year round.

    For those who didn’t get a chance to attend our Christmas Eve service, I talked about leaning into the difficulties in the world around us. If we look at the ministry of Jesus, he never shied away from the difficulties of other. He was willing to reach out to those in need, those who did not believe, and even those who actively worked against him. Not only did Christ provide us salvation through his death and resurrection, but he provides us salvation by being the incarnation of God on earth and showing us how such a life is lived. The themes of Advent-- peace, hope, joy, and love--are all achieved by working through Christ to bring forth the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. If we are willing to lean into those areas that cause us discomfort and do so out of love and devotion, then we can work actively to create the peace and joy we celebrate at Christmas. It is only when we are willing to take risks with others that we often move beyond the issues that divide us.

    I once heard a professor of mine tell a student who was working on his PhD that receiving your doctorate was not the end, but only the beginning. It was only after you finished your studies that the real work began. Christmas works much the same. We have been preparing for all of Advent to receive the Christ child.

    That event has occurred and now the real work begins. Christmas is not about celebrating on December 25th, and then putting away the ornaments on December 26th; it is about thinking about what Christ has called us to do on December 26th and on every day of our lives. Christ calls us to believe, to share the faith, and to let our faith guide our actions so that we work to create a better world, a new earth. Go forth then in faith and lean into the winds of despair and divisiveness that threaten to tear us apart. Lean in with hope, joy, peace, and love, especially love. Go forth and follow the commands of our king the Christ child, the incarnation of God, our strength and our salvation.

    Peace & Merry Christmas,
    Pastor Brian

  • February

    This January has been a doozy of a month weather wise. We have been lucky over the last few years when it snowed, but this past month we have gotten not one but two big snows on Saturday into Sunday morning. As I write this, the month is not quite over, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this coming weekend will be ok. Of course when it snows like that we take into account safety and various factors when deciding if we are going to keep the church open. For both of those Sundays I decided that I could get there safely, and so we had church. The first Sunday we had a whopping attendance of 17 including me.

    The next Sunday we topped it with an attendance of 18. Now I can’t say I was surprised, I was not expecting many, but I always feel that if some folks who live nearby want to come to church and can make it safely, then we should have church. I always make a joke in those circumstances that if 12 were good enough for Jesus, then it is good enough for me. I was asked one of those Sundays if it felt weird to preach to such a small number of people, and although it was certainly different, I like to think that it was meaningful all the same. So often we get focused on the size, or perceived influence of something to determine its importance, however bigger is not always better. Yes sometimes sharing the Lord to thousands of people can be wonderful, but it can be just as wonderful to share it with one person. If we look at the ministry of Jesus, we do see times when he preached to the multitudes, but what we see more of is Jesus sharing the Good News with small groups of people or even individuals. In fact one of the best known lines of scripture from the New Testament, John 3:16, does not come from a speech to a large crowd, but rather a very important one on one conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus.

    I point out all of this to say that Christ’s work is done all over the world in a multitude of settings. It is not just done by preachers testifying to large groups, it’s not even done by just preachers, it’s done by all believers. No matter who you are or what situation you are in, you have the power to share God’s love. Everyone is capable of sharing the Gospel in word or deed. It is often in these smaller settings that we really connect, that we really can feel the Spirit of God working in our midst.

    So, no matter who you are, you have a ministry, and everyone’s calling is important and part of bringing forth God’s kingdom. In light of that, I think my joke should really be that if just one person was good enough for Jesus, than it is good enough for all of us.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • March

    Well, I am glad that spring will technically begin in March. I am certainly tired of winter. We have had the weirdest weather this year ranging from 65 degrees in January to the polar vortex, to all that snow and ice on Saturdays and Sundays. I have so far fallen twice on ice this year, spraining my hand the first time and just bruising myself the second. My wife says that I am accident prone, but I just call it unlucky. The second time I fell I remember just lying there on my back for several minutes. Not that I was seriously injured or couldn’t get up, but I was just so frustrated from falling again, and had no desire to get up. Life is like that sometimes; we fall down, are hurt, become frustrated or scared, and are reluctant to continue on.

    This type of dynamic often occurs in our relationships with others. We spend time and invest energy in someone only to be hurt by him or her later on. We can become fixated on the hurt inflicted on us, not only causing a distance in our relationship with them, but also creating distance in our relationships with others, out of fear of a similar injury. One of the things emphasized by Jesus throughout his ministry is forgiveness. Not only forgiveness of our sins by God, but also God’s directive that we should forgive others. This is not always easy, in fact many times it is very hard, but it can be powerful and beneficial. One of the positives of forgiveness is the freeing power it can have for the person who forgives. It is not about saying that the offense was ok, but rather it is suggesting that one can acknowledge the offense, accept it and move on, focusing on the hope of the future, rather than on the sadness of the past. Perhaps we can have a positive relationship with the person we have forgiven, or at the very least the act of forgiveness helps to free us to trust again the other relationships in our life.

    In addition to forgiving others we are also called to forgive ourselves for mistakes we have made in the past. If God can love and accept us for who we are, then we should be able to as well. Again, it is not that the mistakes we have made in the past are ok, it is that we have learned from them, accept them, and move on from them with hope for the future--that we have learned from these mistakes and can be better people moving forward.

    Sometimes it is tempting to just keep lying down refusing to get up again and face the possibility of being hurt or hurting others, but if we refuse to move on then we will go nowhere and have little hope for a new future, a new creation. This Lent think about the many ways we can better follow God’s calling, remembering that forgiveness in all its forms is always part of God’s path.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • April

    The last several months have been a roller coaster of joys and difficulties for church members. From diagnosis of cancer, and triple-bypass surgery, to the joys of approved adoption and returning family members, it has been a bit of up and down. Of course that is the way things often are. If I were to be honest in looking back at my time at the church, there never really was a time when everything was just fine, nor was there a time when everything was just awful. Life is a constant mix of both, and we move in and out of these moments like bends in a river, hoping that our destination is one that is better than where we started.

    When we read about the ministry of Jesus in the Bible, it is so miraculous. We see so many instances of Jesus healing those who are impossibly ill. He feeds the hungry and gives water to the thirsty. He helps those who have been marginalized by society know their worth and become accepted again. He gives hope to the hopeless and joy to those in sorrow; he even gives life to those who were dead, both spiritually and in reality. I, as I’m sure others do, wish that I could have been there to see him and experience his grace and mercy firsthand. How much better it must have been then. Well, being in the presence of Christ would have been wonderful, however, just like today there were people who died of disease, there were people who were still poor, still hungry. Jesus did not fix everyone’s problems, or at least what we might think were the main problems of the world.

    Jesus did do some wonderful things, but the most miraculous was the events of Holy Week that we remember and celebrate this month. Jesus did not fix every single earthly problem we had, nor does Christ fix every problem we have today, but he did something even more important. Christ shows us that the river we are on does go someplace better, someplace wonderful, and that is not something we could know or achieve on our own. Although God does not fix every issue, as we might want them fixed, we are still given many blessings in this world. Whenever something does go our way, that was not something we worked to earn, it is not something that was promised.

    Every joy is a gift in a world that without love, forgiveness, and salvation would have little to look forward to. Ultimately we share in the greatest joy, the joy of the resurrection, the joy of life eternal through Christ. This joy, this joy alone, is what helps me through those difficult turns in the river of life. May this joy help you as well this Easter season, and throughout all your life.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • May

    Well, it’s garage sale time at the church. As I am writing this we are beginning to pile up things in the church basement and will hold our annual garage sale on the first weekend in May. I have to say I enjoy the garage sale, not the work so much, but just seeing all of the stuff that comes in. We have had everything from a hot tub to even a boat one year. I have personally added several fantastic things to my household including a waffle maker, delicious, and my favorite, a ship’s wheel. I haven’t used the ship’s wheel yet, but some day it will go into my nautical / tiki- themed man cave. I might not get that man cave built until I retire, but it keeps me dreaming.

    That is the funny thing about the garage sale-- you never know what you might find. Mostly it is things you already have or things you don’t want, but now and again you find those things that really surprise you. It might be the thing you never knew you wanted, but now can’t live without. God’s blessings are much like that as well. We spend much of our life doing the same thing over and over. Many times we even find ourselves doing things we are not too excited about, or find ourselves in places of despair. Life, thankfully, is not all like that, however. We also find times of great joy, where God has done something in our life that is totally unexpected. I would have never in a million years expected I would have met and married my wife, and yet I was blessed to find her. It is like those great objects you find at the garage sale, and not only that, but God’s blessings are a great bargain, even better than the garage sale. God’s blessings are free; we did nothing to earn them, yet God grants them anyway, everything from the smallest joy to our very salvation.

    I know that life can be difficult; I know that it can be monotonous at times. We might believe that there is nothing great for us, and that all is despair, but just keep digging around. Keep looking through all that life has to offer, and I guarantee that you will find some blessing, something you didn’t even know was there. It might be a friend or partner. It might be the wet kisses of your puppy dog.

    It might be a beautiful sunset or the beautiful sound of the wind through the trees. It even might be something you can’t fully realize now, but will come into being in time, like my ship’s wheel. No matter what it is, know that God’s love and blessings abound. Go forth and look for them; you never know what you might find.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • June

    Many church folks have been asking me over the last year why I have been limping so much. For me, it was just a pain that was always there, would get a bit better, and then get a bit worse. I finally did go to a doctor, and with some x-rays and some physical therapy, it was confirmed that I have osteoarthritis of the hip. This is the wear and tear type of arthritis that happens when you lose cartilage in your joints. I am a bit young for this to happen, but it is not uncommon for folks in their 40s to develop this issue. Millions of people older than me deal with this issue every day. When I finally understood the diagnosis, I was not really that worried, and there are things I can do to slow the progression. It did, however, strike me that this was something that was because of my age, and although it could be managed, it would never go away, at least not without a hip replacement. It was one more marker that my life has changed, and that the time in my life when I was younger and didn’t have to worry about such things was now over.

    This is not a bad thing; life continues on and all of us age. We all reach a point where things we used to be able to do when we were younger are no longer things we can do. I think, however, that it is important to understand that any time in our life can be good and useful, just in different ways. We have a tendency in our society to idolize youth, as if being older was somehow bad. Perhaps we have trouble embracing change, embracing that we are now different than we were before? If we look at the ministry of Jesus, though, we see that he was all about the differences in life and paid little attention to what was idolized by society.

    Jesus spent time with, helped and healed the old, young, sick, pariahs, and everyone in-between. Although Jesus did heal many who were sick, he did not turn them into something they were not. They might have been able to walk again, but they did not suddenly turn into 18 year olds. He was loving and accepting of people outside of social norms, but that unfortunately does not mean the rest of society was. If anything, all of this teaches me that no matter who we are or what period of our life we are in, Jesus loves and cares for us and insists that we have worth. It is easy to remember what we loved about the past or to idealize some portion of our life before. What is more difficult is to be comfortable and ok with where our life is now.

    It is more difficult, but worth so much more than daydreaming about the past. After all, if Christ thinks that we are a gift to the world no matter our age or ability, perhaps we should too.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • July

    For those that don’t know, my mother, stepfather, and both grandparents are in the process of moving from Alabama to Beavercreek, OH. They have purchased a house that they will all be moving into, and only one thing needs to happen for them to come up—remodel a 1400 sq. ft. basement. The walkout basement in the house is finished, however, we are turning it into a one-bedroom apartment for my grandparents and installing a stair lift. This involves adding closets, a bedroom, a kitchen, a den, and expanding the bathroom, you know a little side project. Well, for anyone who has done contracting, you know that this is actually a great deal of work. I took a week off in June and my stepfather and I did all the demo work, all the framing, lined up all the contractors for HVAC, electric, and plumbing, plus laid a kitchen floor. Not too bad for a week, though I am pretty sore. I think my stepfather might need to sleep for 3 days straight, like Jesus rising from the tomb. The point of telling you all this is that such tasks can seem very daunting, even impossible. I know that once we had torn out all the things that were being removed from the space and I stared at all of the many piles of stuff that had to go to the dump, I did feel a smidge overwhelmed and unsure. However, wheelbarrow-by-wheelbarrow load, we got rid of it all and got so much done after. Life is like that often. There are things before us and we wonder how we can do them or even get through to the other end of a difficult situation. The answer, like my wheelbarrow loads, is piece-by-piece, day-by-day, or even minute- by-minute. It is only through many small steps that we make any journey in life. A life of faith is like this as well. When we accept Christ into our hearts and accept God’s grace through Christ, we start a journey, a journey of discipleship. We are saved through Christ and God’s gift of grace, but to serve Christ as our Lord is to think about how we live our lives, and if we are working in the world in ways that Christ would want us to. Just as Christ sent out the apostles, Christ sends each one of us into the world to do God’s work to help usher in the Kingdom of God: and I thought that basement was a lot of work.

    The issues of the world around us and our own issues can seem daunting and impossible, but we do not do this work alone, and we do it step-by-step. None of us will ever reach perfection, at least I won’t, and the Kingdom of God will not be fully realized until the return of Christ. However, all the work we do to improve the world and ourselves has real meaning and real effect. If you are facing something that seems so very hard, keep all of this in mind: you are not alone, and even the very longest journey in life is made from small steps.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • August

    Well, there has been quite a change in our house. It all started earlier this summer with a different change, and that was when our niece and nephew came to visit us for the months of June and July. It has been a fun summer, and we have gotten to know both of them so well. I have learned a great deal about the types of music teenagers listen to, and they have learned about the types of music old people, like me, listen to. We have eaten much pizza and have had many taco parties. Overall it has been wonderful to have them, except perhaps for all of the extra dishes that needed to be cleaned. Now, however, it has come to an end and they are headed back home. That is the new change, going from a house with two teenagers to no teenagers. We do miss them, but this, of course, is the way that the world works— nothing is permanent.

    I think that this is one of the greatest lessons to be learned in life, the lack of permanency. If we understand that fully then I think we can better enjoy the good things because we know not to take them for granted, and we fully embrace them. In a similar way such an understanding can give us hope when we are in a situation of discomfort or despair, we know that such difficult things will not last forever. When thinking about this up and down pattern to life, I recall among other things, the disciples and their relationship with Jesus. They cared so much for him, and I think they felt as if the day of the crucifixion would never come. Likewise, after it, they couldn’t fathom the temporary nature of Christ’s death and his future resurrection. In Christ’s death and resurrection we see that as humans, life is temporary, like all things on earth, but our life as beings that share in the divinity of Christ is not temporary, but permanent.

    Perhaps this is one reason we struggle to know and understand what life after earthly death is like. We are so used to living in a world where everything is temporary, and yet the divine is permanent. I myself don’t have any idea what it will be like; I just have faith that it exists, and figure I will find out when I get there. My hope is that I will look back upon my life and remember and appreciate all the joys, while understanding that the sorrows no longer affect me. I hope that I can look upon my past in its entirety as something akin to the ebbs and flows of the ocean along the shore knowing that its beauty is made of both waves and troughs.

    When the greatest change of all happens to me, I’m sure it will be something beyond my imagination, and yet I have faith that there will be peace and love and this is enough. In our journey together, there are many times when we pass in and out of each others’ lives along with all of the impermanent things of this world, but ultimately our faith tells us that we will all be joined together again. Who knows, maybe it will be one big taco party! Whatever it is, I know I have been glad to have you in my life thus far and I will see you again some day.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • September

    This last month has been difficult and trying, and those words can’t really give justice to what I and so many others felt in August. The mass shooting in the Oregon District two blocks from my home, and across the street from my wife’s business, is something that will unfortunately stay with me the rest of my life. I told someone recently that the last time I felt like that was September 11th 2001. Despite the difficulty I have had and am still having, it is nothing in comparison to those who were there that night, those who were injured, and, of course, the families who lost their loved ones. This is something that has happened way too often, and if nothing changes, I feel as if it is almost certain to occur again someplace in the US before the end of the year, if not several times. What do we do with our faith in times like these?

    Why do horrible things happen in God’s world? I don’t have an answer for that, and I would be skeptical of someone who said they did. My theological view is that as human beings we have free will, and as such can choose to sin and defy God’s commandment of love. In doing so, we are the ones who most often cause the things of evil in the world. Even though humanity is capable of horrific things, we are also capable of wonderful and loving things. I have seen in the aftermath of the shooting so many examples of love and support, and although not all of those efforts are tied to people’s faith, I know that many of them were. For us as Christians God calls us to be disciples of love, and in my eyes I saw this being demonstrated in the care and comfort of those involved that continues to this day. In this way and others, we do see God working in the world.

    When considering God’s work in the world, I think it is important to remember that we are God’s instruments for work and change. Jesus made use of his disciples and sent them to do work and share the Word in his name. Through them the love of Christ was shared far and wide. In times like these, when I ask where is God, the answer I get is that God is here in us, in you and me. We are called to work to heal the wounded, to comfort those in distress, to care for the young and teach them lessons of peace.

    All is possible through Christ, and not just because of the supernatural aspects of God, but because through us as Christ’s disciples, so much can be done and accomplished. In this moment may we all work to heal this injury to our community and nation, and may we work to ensure others need not suffer the same fate. Go forth to share God’s love and do not settle for the excuses of violence; work to usher in the kingdom of God.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • October

    Well, the move is almost done, not any move I’m making, but the moving of my mother, stepfather, and grandparents. I have mentioned this many times, and wrote a bit about it earlier in the summer, but for those who don’t know, all of these family members are moving from Alabama to a house in Beavercreek. As I write this, my mother and stepfather are already here, and by the time you read this, my grandparents should be here as well. When I wrote about this last time I talked a great deal about the remodeling of the house and all the work involved in that, but now as we close in on the actual move, what seems more relevant is the change to my life all of this causes.

    As I have told others, the last time I lived in the same city with any relatives from my side of the family was when I was 17 years old. For years I have been able to see my mother and stepfather just several times a year, and my grandparents only once or maybe twice a year. I will go from that to seeing them almost every week most likely. This is a big change and a good one. I am very much looking forward to the time I will be able to spend with family. It does strike me, however, that I would never have envisioned where I am now when I was 17, or 27, or even 37. When I was 17 and 27, I certainly had no idea I would be in Ohio or anywhere near it. Even at 37, just 4 years ago, I had no idea that I would have my mother, stepfather, grandparents, and even my mother-in-law all living in the Dayton area. It just goes to show that we truly have no idea what the future brings. Now on one hand that seems scary, but it also opens us up to hope for things not yet seen.

    We talk a good deal about God working in our lives, but sometimes it seems as if God is not working fast enough, or at all, to change a situation we might be in. We see our future before us and do not see any possibility of change. This is especially true when we are in a place of depression, or have experienced a great tragedy. However, I am here to tell you that no person’s future is written in stone, and there are so many possibilities beyond your imagination that lay before you. Have faith, and hope and work for positive change in your life; you will likely be surprised at what blessings are around the corner.

    I certainly have been as of late, and despite the great challenges and tragedies of this summer, I do truly feel blessed today. Christ is with us always, and just as the disciples were led to new and amazing things as they followed him, we will be led ultimately to God’s Kingdom, and to many wonders along the way. Enjoy the trip.


    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • November

    I had a great Monday with my wife recently. Monday is our one day off together each week, and we went to get some ice cream at Young’s, played some putt-putt, and even stopped off at the brewery in Yellow Springs. The weather was beautiful that day and it was such a blast. Now one might not think that ice cream, putt-putt, and a beer is all that exciting, but like so many things, everything is based on perspective. You see, a day like that is usually the type of day off we like to have, but we haven’t had one like it probably since May. This summer we had our niece and nephew living with us, there was the tragedy in August, and then I have been spending all summer refinishing a basement for my grandparents. So we have been spending all of our days off either working or catching up on life. After all of that, having a relaxing day together seems unimaginably wonderful.

    Many things in life are about perspective. When we get used to something and we no longer have it, then it seems like a loss, and likewise if we never had a thing, and all of the sudden receive it, it can seem like a great gift. This is life. We are constantly yearning for what we do not have, and often not appreciating what we do have. I think of this when I read biblical accounts of people coming into contact with Jesus. They often had priorities of what they wanted to see happen, or some thing that they felt they needed. Perhaps they wanted to see an end to Roman rule, or they were worried about heaven and who gets to go there. Meanwhile, the incarnation of God was standing right before them; their very salvation was a mere arms length away.

    I tell you even though I really appreciated that Monday, which was so much fun, I’m not sure if I would have been as excited about it 7 or 8 months ago, when it was a more common occurrence. It is a real challenge to truly appreciate the blessings that we currently have, but if we can do a better job of it, then I think that we will not only appreciate life more, but also live it with a greater sense of purpose and happiness. Everyone has some level of difficulty; everyone has experienced loss, some very recently. These things are all true, and they should not be ignored or diminished. However, what blessings do you also have, what things bring you joy and contentment?

    If we can actively focus on these things, then not only do we truly appreciate them, but they can also help carry us through the difficult times that all of us experience. Take stock of your life, look for the good, and know that God is actively working in your life; you never know what blessing is merely an arms length away.


    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • December

The Pastor's Peace Archive™

Read Pastor Brian's thoughts from past years.

The Pastor’s Sermon™

Listen to Pastor Brian's sermons, when available, recorded during Morning Worship and other special worship services.

The Pastor's Sermon Archive™

Listen to Pastor Brian’s sermons from past years.

The Pastor's Peace™ and The Pastor's Sermon™ are © 2019 by The Beaver United Church of Christ and Pastor Brian Eastman. If you wish to copy or reproduce any content from the Beaver United Church of Christ web site, please contact Pastor Brian Eastman.