What does becoming like Jesus look like? We call that transformation. Becoming like Jesus looks like this:
- Automatically thinking with God and asking Him what He wants us to notice
- Protecting our own emotions and the emotions of others like Jesus did
- Replacing the toxic fuel of fear with the high-octane fuel of joy
- Addressing gaps in our maturity as we journey to become elders
- Loving our enemies spontaneously
Know anyone like that? Such people are “green zones” of peace, joy, acceptance and growth.
Life Model Works lost a “green zone” person recently: our treasurer and champion of the Life Model, Perry Bigelow. Perry would be the first to say he wasn’t perfect, but he was far along on the journey as one of our elders. We miss him dearly.
While walking the dog this week, I admired a well-kept lawn with lush shrubs and trees. The sight was peaceful and life-giving. Someone obviously had created a green zone, an oasis of beauty and health. Later, we walked past another yard that was mostly dirt and tall weeds. The neglected lawn was a wasteland that left me feeling sad, and wondering about what was happening there.
Perry Bigelow was a man who was being transformed every day into a “green zone” like a lush lawn. He dreamed big “Kingdom of God”- sized dreams and invested his time and treasure to see those dreams come to pass.
Perry was a green zone of reconciliation. Former Life Model Works CEO Jim Martini says, “My favorite memory of Perry was when Jim Wilder and I flew to Jackson, Mississippi for meetings that Perry set for us with Coach Gordon and John Perkins. Perry was so happy to be in a room with three men he respected so much (John Perkins, Coach Gordon and Jim Wilder). He loved the Lord so much and took extraordinary measures to align his affairs with God’s preferences. He often spoke of the profound impact on his life of Immanuel Prayer with Margaret Webb. He was so generous. He helped many people attend Thrive Training and provided extensive support to Life Model Works with his time and finances. I will miss the way his eyes lit up when he saw us. He’s the only guy I knew who still addressed me as “young man.””
I remember Perry’s desire to see everyone experience the Joy of the Lord and live out of the hearts Jesus gave them. He invested in organizations directly helping people on the margins. He had a big heart for the urban core of Chicago. He did more: he moved the company he founded to begin building new communities that were multigenerational and life-giving. Right up to his final days, Perry was dreaming and scheming of ever more creative partnerships and ventures that would keep on spreading the love of God by building the people of God.
Perry was a champion of spreading the Life Model. Former chair of our board, Doug Morgan, says, “ Just the mention of Perry’s name brings heart-warming memories to me …and now a tear too. The twinkle in those eyes peering from that warm, weathered face of wisdom always caught me immediately with “I’m glad to be with you.” He often sealed that with a warm hug. Perry was like a brother. We fought often over how to navigate LMW into calmer waters. At the same time, we kept a deeper personal relationship nurtured through our years working together. His humble appearance and character often hid the big, generous, loving heart he had. I will miss him. I do miss him. Excuse me now, I need to get a Kleenex.”
Perry left a joyful legacy of “I’m happy to be with you”-JOY. Our founder and chief neurotheologian Dr. Jim Wilder says, “Perry and his brother came to Kona for a class on the Life Model, drawn in great part by Perry’s desire for optimal community design. He was the most active class member during discussions and always ready to take a good idea farther. When Perry discovered my weakness, he began bringing a large iced coffee to class each afternoon for me.”
I am honored to have known Perry. Every time we talked was a blessing and I learned something. He not only had ministry sense, he understood how to invest Kingdom capital to bless the world. Today we honor a Life Model Champion, our friend Perry Bigelow, a green zone person who left legacy of generosity and joy.
How can you become a person who leaves a green zone legacy to the next generation?
On the journey with you, Ray