Finish Strong

A guest blog by Pastor Dan Gay
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A Tribute to My Dad. (Nov 4, 1937- March 25, 2015)


Eight weeks ago, I got “the call.” You had battled lung cancer courageously for 2.5 yrs but had finally passed and were now with Jesus. We knew you were in the final stages but you’re the toughest man I know; hey you had already beaten cancer two different times, one of which was pancreatic (a 5 year survival rate of just 6%).  So we thought maybe lung cancer was just another hurdle. There were times we all thought you had taken a turn for the worse only to see you rebound time and again. You are no quitter and true to that, you fought until the very end. But it became clear to all of us kids (Dad raised 9) that it was time. Even then, you went on your terms making sure that you encouraged and blessed Diana and Donna (my sisters) who had cared for you so well.

It’s a little easier for me now, Dad. More and more when I think of you, I remember the joy that you shared not the pain you endured – and I smile. Two days before, AnneMarie, DJ and Bob (my cousins) were there to visit, to say hello and… to say goodbye. But this would be no somber affair as you perked up, telling stories, making them laugh and, when your voice started to fail making it difficult to breathe with the chest tube, you rolled up a piece of paper into a megaphone so you could be heard. After all the show must go on!

You were a man that loved to laugh, loved to make people laugh and loved to make others’ difficult times easier. You were a supreme optimist. In your world things were better than they used to be and you were convinced they would continue to get better. Every setback was just a pothole to drive over while you kept moving forward.

Thank you for sharing your world, your encouragement and your laughter with us! We’re proud to be part of your legacy. We love you and we miss you here.

Your Son,


I am my fathers son and when I think about all my Dad taught me, these 3 standout along with lessons I have learned from them.

Passion – Psalm 73:26

My Dad was a man fueled by passion. He taught me that without passion, life is just a routine. Passion towards your goals/dreams turns a routine day into an adventure so never let go of it. I have learned over the years that passion can drive me to accomplish things where others fail or give up.

Life Lesson: Find where God has given you passion and you will begin to find your ministry.

Perseverance – Galatians 6:9

My Dad was a man forged by perseverance. He taught me to never give up, to not be afraid to work hard, and to be a “whatever it takes” guy that people can depend on. There is no “can’t” because there is always a way. The best dreams are ones you have to fight for.

Life Lesson: God doesn’t call us to do anything part of the way, He asks if we are willing to go all-in.

Purpose – 1 Peter 2:9

My Dad was a man driven by purpose. He taught me to not be afraid to ask why. Things done without purpose are just tasks. There is always a reason and you can’t improve what you don’t understand. One of my favorite books is, “The Purpose Driven Life” which speaks about how purpose is key to any endeavor. One of my passions as a pastor is to help churches and people persevere with a purpose.

Life Lesson: God calls you FOR a Purpose, ON Purpose BUT its is for HIS Purpose, so hold it all loosely.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.-Philippians 3:13-14

Here is what I said at my Dad’s memorial service:

“That in the last 20 years of my Dad’s life…”

  • He Grew in Humility where there once was Pride
  • He Grew in Dependence where there once was Self- Sufficiency
  • He Grew in Hope where there once was Guilt

And he did all of this because he grew in FAITH!

My Dad came to realize believing in Jesus was not just a theology. For his faith to be real, it had to be a way of life. It had to be the center of his life and then everything else was small stuff by comparison… and he lived it.

That is what I call finishing strong!

Thank you Wallace Richard Gay, Sr. for finishing strong and setting the example for those who knew you, that it IS ALL ABOUT JESUS.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Finish Strong

  1. Well done Pastor! I’m sure your dad was an awesome man, and very proud of his family

  2. Thanks Justin, those he raised, those he knew and those he touched are all part of his legacy

  3. Thanks Ed, he was a great guy, who loved people and loved Jesus more and more throughout his life, which is why to me He finished strong

  4. Wow Dan, as I read what you wrote about dad, the tears came flowing like a river, which is sometimes healing! Can’t thank you enough for sharing your heart with not just us but all those whose lives you touch. Dad was so proud of who you have become. Almost every time we talked about you he said, “I always knew the ministry is where he belonged”. Love you big brother!

  5. Pastor Dan, it must be a great blessing living and knowing God gave you a father on earth who believed in our Father in heaven. I don’t have that, I pray I do one day.

    This was encouraging. You’re our Pastor! Thanks Pastor Dan. God bless you and the ministry He gave you.

  6. Pastor Dan, Thank you so much for sharing such a private part of your life with us. I can’t imagine the pain of losing my father, but through this difficult time you have encouraged me by sharing the accounts of what a extraordinary person, man of God, that you’re father is. It was a blessing to me. You’re transparency in ministering to us is something that can’t even be put into words. I’m honored to be a part of a church with so many humble and loving people. May God continue to use you as a vessel to help transform people’s hearts everyday. Wishing you an abundance of blessings. This spoke volumes to me. Thank you. Nancy Muni

  7. Dan….this was such a beautiful tribute to your precious father. Thank for sharing so intimately about your dad. He certainly sounds like such an incredible man of God. I do understand the true heartache of losing a father, since I lost my dad 2 years ago, and so I empathize with you as well.
    Many blessings on you and your family, Sherri