Today I write something that is both painful…and yet joyous at the same time.
Departure is never easy; but the hope of the Christian is life eternal!
One of my absolute heroes went to be with Jesus yesterday.
It was the privilege of a lifetime to get to travel on the road with Russell, James, and Edd—the Easter Brothers—full-time for around 6 years playing gospel music.
If you’re not sure who they are, here’s a clip from a trip to Dallas to film with DayStar TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag1qg3zuQ60
I learned so much about Jesus during that period of my life.
There is no way possible that, in a short blog post, I could say what truly needs to be said…so I know I will leave out some amazing details about Russell and his life and ministry…
But in remembering Russell and the impact he had on me, there was some things he absolutely LOVED. I thought, perhaps, a great way to honor his legacy would be to talk about a few of the things he loved.
He Loved Music
This should go without saying, but Russell Easter was a storyteller like none other. He loved everything about music. He loved playing music (although he did not play much anymore by the time I got to know him). He mostly sang and wrote.
Most of all, he loved writing music.
He was always working on a new song idea.
I guarantee you, Russell Easter has set better songs to the side than most writers will pen in a lifetime. He was a great writer, his thinking was always Bible-based, and his hooks were always catchy.
He gave his life to Jesus and served him through gospel music…and in my opinion, no one did it better.
He Loved Business
My own love for business and entrepreneurship has no doubt been impacted by his.
A long time ago the group decided that Russell would essentially “lead” the band (although there was always mutual respect between the brothers) and that he would be in charge of business decisions, etc.
Russell just loved making deals and being a part of the business. He always had the latest Mac computer and was doing graphic design work for album covers, posters, and whatever else he could!
For Russell, that stuff was never a chore or a burden; he loved it.
He Loved His Grandkids
Obviously…Russell loved his entire family. Very much so.
But there was a distinct smile on his face…one that would light up a room…when one of his grandkids or great-grandkids would come by.
He loved giving gifts, he loved having them close, and he especially loved when they took an interest in music.
This is especially impactful for me, because he very much treated me like one of his own grandkids, and I very much felt like one.
Even more than getting to play with music him, to be treated like a grandson by Russell is one of the distinct honors and privileges of my life.
He Loved Jesus
Most importantly, Russell loved Jesus more than anything in this world.
Think about it…collectively, the Brothers penned over 400 songs…all about Jesus.
The millions of miles traveled and lives impacted…all to tell one more person about Christ.
The Apostle Paul informs us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).
Russell, as we speak, is with Christ…the One he wrote about and sang about every day for the last 60+ years of his life.
What legacy could one hope to leave any more significant than that?
As far as I’m concerned, Russell Easter literally changed the world. He was a pioneer in gospel music.
But there is nothing more important to know about Russell than this: He loved Jesus, and wanted so badly for the rest of the world to love him too. That’s what matters.
Although nothing I write can wholly or adequately express how I am feeling…I just want to publicly say how grateful I am for the life and ministry of Russell Easter.
Here’s a wonderful video that was recorded a few years back now in tribute to The Easter Brothers:
I am grateful God gave me the opportunity to know them so intimately.
Thank for your everything, Russell.