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31  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Loving Others on: March 27, 2006, 07:21:05 AM
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.

He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.

When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!

Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges.

Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death--and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.

Philippians 2:5-8 (The MSG)
32  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Loving Others on: March 27, 2006, 07:15:14 AM
Amen, Tom!

Let brotherly love continue.

~Hebrews 13:1
33  Fellowship / For Men Only / Re: Bible Minute on: March 27, 2006, 07:13:41 AM

"Practicing virtue isn't so much about changing the world around you; it's about changing your heart and mind into effective tools for Christ's glory."

34  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Loving Others on: March 26, 2006, 07:26:52 AM

ďAnd I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am lovedĒ (II Corinthians 12:15).

Besides prayer, no other subject has been talked about more and practiced less than the subject of loving one another.

We all know we are supposed to love one another. We have heard it preached a thousand times. But there is a difference between knowing the Path and walking the Path.

I want to speak specifically to the issue of love as it relates to ďministryĒ. That word ďministryĒ is a loaded word now, and we really need to question someone when they use that word so we can find out what they really mean. I think most people will agree that what passes for ďministryĒ these days is something very far removed from the ministry practiced in the New Testament. And I am not referring to some kind of method or technique that they practiced. The ďmissing ingredientĒ is not something so superficial as meeting in homes versus meeting in buildings. How far we have fallen to think that the secret of New Testament life is found in some way of conducting a meeting.

Leadership exists in the Bible, and leadership exists in the Church. There is no getting around that. Jesus showed us, both in word and in deed, that His idea of leadership is based on service to God and to others. The question we need to ask is what constitutes godly, Spirit-led, Christ-centered, servant leadership? What makes someone a spiritual father? What really qualifies someone as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher?

You might say the calling of God is what qualifies someone. Perhaps, but many are called and few are chosen. Many are called but they fail to respond to the call. You need more than a calling.

You might say the gift of God is what qualifies someone. Let me tell you something, brothers and sisters. Gifts no longer register much with me anymore. Gifted brothers and sisters are really a dime a dozen. I am just speaking frankly. Often I will meet people and come away thinking how gifted they are, but they leave me hollow inside. They have a lot of potential but I would not trust them to watch my dog much less watch over peopleís souls. Many of them claim to be in some kind of pastoral or prophetic or apostolic ministry. But that in and of itself does not qualify a person. I have seen gifted brothers and sisters with absolutely no wisdom, no maturity, and no spiritual discernment make a real mess of peopleís lives.

You might say revelation from God is what qualifies someone. I absolutely believe that revelation is a necessity for teaching others because you cannot point the way to a place you have never been. But revelation by itself does not qualify a person.

There came a time in my life when I realized I was called, and I was gifted, and God had given me great revelation, but I still lacked something. Now when I was younger I believed that having a calling from God and being gifted by God was all you needed. Then I began to learn some things by revelation and thought that was Godís seal of approval upon me.

Even so, I could not get away from the fact that there were then, and there are now, lots of people in the world besides me who are called by God, have spiritual gifts, and enjoy an abundance of revelation. But God cannot trust them in any kind of a servant leadership capacity. They may have a title or a ministry but they are unqualified because they do not have the missing ingredient. I noticed they lacked something, and worse, I lacked the same thing. Eventually I discovered what everyone, including myself, is lacking.

What is the missing ingredient? The missing ingredient is LOVE.

Let me share something to illustrate what I mean. A pastor told me something that happened many years ago between him and his associate pastor. They worked together in the church but fortunately they were also good friends. He said his associate came to him one day with tears in his eyes and told him, ďYouíre the best preacher and teacher of the Word I have ever heard in my life. But you just donít love people.Ē When the pastor shared this story with me he had tears in
his eyes, too. It was a powerful reminder to him, and an important lesson to us. We can be called and gifted and full of revelation and still fall short because we are not walking in love with people.

Now we could go to many examples of love demonstrated and love commanded in the New Testament. You know them as well as I do. But when I turn to this little obscure passage in II Corinthians
12 I find something mostly overlooked. Paul writes, ďI will VERY GLADLY spend and be spent for you; though the more ABUNDANTLY I love you, the less I am loved.Ē Now that is what qualifies a person. That is the missing ingredient.

Paul wrote this to the Corinthians. You know Paul had more trouble with the Corinthian church than all the others combined. Most people would have quit, but not Paul. Paul has the heart of a father. That is a real apostle. That is a real pastor. We know he was called, we know he was gifted, and we certainly know he had a depth of revelation. We could understand if he felt like he was wasting his time with Corinth and wanted to turn his attention elsewhere.

You see, that kind of thinking has the flesh all over it. I read something many years ago that I accepted at first as wisdom, but have since changed by mind. A man wrote, ďGo where you are celebrated, not where you are tolerated.Ē At the time I was feeling very unappreciated so I thought this was sound advice. But God has been gracious to me, and He has helped me to see that this attitude is the whole problem with ďministryĒ today. We love people who love us, and we serve people who serve us, and we thank people who thank us, and if you scratch my back then Iíll scratch your back. What kind of Christianity is this? What if Paul only went where he was celebrated and avoided places where he was just tolerated? What a foolish statement, but this is the prevailing attitude among ďministersĒ today.

Paul gave us an example to follow. Donít just look at his calling and his gifting and his revelation. Look at his heart of love. He gave all Ė not just for the Lord, but for the Lordís people. And they were a most carnal, unappreciative bunch of people. Even so, the heart of a father is demonstrated. That is the reason he had authority. I tell you his authority was not in his title, his position, or his status as having founded the church. His authority was not in his calling, gift, or revelation. His authority was in the abundant love he showed.

Make no mistake: I am not there yet. I still struggle with how to be a good brother, much less a spiritual father with abundant love for everyone. I obviously have a long way to go, but now I see the missing ingredient and I am following after love. How about you?

You know, the days of a person just ďshowing upĒ to exercise their gift and do their little ministry event are just about over. I have been guilty of that, I think we all have either done it or seen others do it. Is that what Jesus has called us to do? Is that being an example? Hold some meetings, have some talks, shake hands and go home? It doesnít mean a thing if we are not loving one another. It is all tinkling brass and clanging cymbals.

Paul saw himself as a father caring for the needs of his children. He entered right into the heart of God, because that is exactly the way God sees it. That is why Paul was able to love them more even as they loved him less. There is a vacuum of that kind of leadership in the Body of Christ today. We have people who cannot even be good brothers and sisters and yet they aspire to be spiritual fathers and leaders, apostles and prophets and pastors and teachers. Instead of
serving people WITH their gift they expect people to serve them BECAUSE of their gift. It is seen in things so seemingly insignificant as the pastorís reserved parking space right by the front door.

In recent months I have prayed, ďGod, take away my calling, take away my gifts, take away my revelation, but give me a heart of love.Ē Really friends, we have plenty of gifted brothers and sisters. But where are the Pauls and the Peters and the Johns of our generation? Where are the spiritual fathers, the leaders, the elders, the ones giving a godly example to those who follow after? An example is most definitely being given, but all too often it is an example of what NOT to do.

Where are the ones who will very gladly spend and be spent in the service of God and of others Ė who will love abundantly even when they are not loved in return? One father is worth more than ten thousand teachers.

All you who are called and gifted, hear me. Love is the missing ingredient. Follow after love and the calling, the gifting, and the revelation will find its deepest and fullest expression.

Chip Brogden
35  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Forgiveness on: March 26, 2006, 07:17:41 AM
Itís not easy watching Jesus wash these feet.

To see the hands of God massaging the toes of men is, well . . . itís not right. The disciples should be washing his feet. Nathanael should pour the water. Andrew should carry the towel. But they donít. No one does. Rather than serve, they argue over which one is the greatest (Luke 22:24).

What disappointment their words must have brought Jesus.

"Iím the number one apostle."

"No, Iím much more spiritual than you."

"You guys are crazy. I brought more people to hear Jesus than anyone."

As they argue, the basin sits in the corner, untouched. The towel lies on the floor, unused. The servantís clothing hangs on the wall, unworn. Each disciple sees these things. Each disciple knows their purpose. But no one moves, except Jesus. As they bicker, he stands.

But he doesnít speak. He removes his robe and takes the servantís wrap off of the wall. Taking the pitcher, he pours the water into the basin. He kneels before them with the basin and sponge and begins to wash. The towel that covers his waist is also the towel that dries their feet.

Itís not right.

Isnít it enough that these hands will be pierced in the morning? Must they scrub grime tonight? And the disciples . . . do they deserve to have their feet washed? Their affections have waned; their loyalties have wavered.

We want to say . . .

Look at John, Jesus. This is the same John who told you to destroy the city. The same John who demanded that you censure a Christ-follower who wasnít in your group. Why are you washing his feet?

And James! Skip James. He wanted the seat of honor. He and his brother wanted special treatment. Donít give it to him. Give him the towel. Let him wash his own feet. Let him learn a lesson.

And while you are at it, Jesus, you might as well skip Philip. He told you there wasnít enough food to feed the large crowd. You tested him, and he flunked. You gave him the chance, and he blew it.

And Peter? Sure, these are the feet that walked on water, but theyíre also the feel that thrashed about in the deep. He didnít believe you. Sure he confessed you as the Christ, but heís also the one who told you that you didnít have to die. He doesnít deserve to have his feet washed.

None of them do. When you were about to be stoned in Nazareth, did they come to your defense? When the Pharisees took up rocks to kill you, did they volunteer to take your place? You know what they have done.

And whatís more, you know what they are about to do!

You can already hear them snoring in the garden. They say theyíll stay awake, but they wonít. Youíll sweat blood; theyíll saw logs.

You can hear them sneaking away from the soldiers. They make promises tonight. Theyíll make tracks tomorrow.

Look around the table, Jesus. Out of the twelve, how many will stand with you in Pilateís court? How many will share with you the Roman whip? And when you fall under the weight of the cross, which disciple will be close enough to spring to your side and carry your burden?

None of them will. Not one. A stranger will be called because no disciple will be near.

Donít wash their feet, Jesus. Tell them to wash yours.

Thatís what we want to say. Why? Because of the injustice? Because we donít want to see our King behaving as a servant? God on his hands and knees, his hair hanging around his face? Do we object because we donít want to see God washing feet?

Or do we object because we donít want to do the same?

Stop and think for a minute. Donít we have some people like the disciples in our world?

Double-tongued promise-breakers. Fair-weather friends. What they said and what they did are two different things. Oh, maybe they didnít leave you alone at the cross, but maybe they left you alone with the bills . . .
Or your question.
Or your illness.
Or maybe you were just left at the altar,
Or in the cold,
Holding the bag.
Vows forgotten.
Contract abandoned.

Logic says: "Put up your fists."
Jesus says: "Fill up the basin."
Logic says: "Bloody his nose."
Jesus says: "Wash his feet."
Logic says: "She doesnít deserve it."
Jesus says: "Youíre right, but you donít, either.

I donít understand how God can be so kind to us, but he is. He kneels before us, takes our feet in his hands, and washes them. Please understand that in washing the disciplesí feet, Jesus is washing ours. You and I are in this story. We are at the table. Thatís us being cleansed, not from our dirt, but from our sins.

And the cleansing is not just a gesture; it is a necessity. Listen to what Jesus said: "If I donít wash your feet, you are not one of my people" (John 13:8 ).

Jesus did not say, "if you donít wash your feet." Why not? Because we cannot cleanse our own filth. We cannot remove our own sin. Our feet must be in his hands.

Donít miss the meaning here. To place our feet in the basin of Jesus is to place the filthiest parts of our lives into his hands. In the ancient East, peopleís feet were caked with mud and dirt. The servant of the feast saw to it that the feet were cleaned. Jesus is assuming the role of the servant. He will wash the grimiest part of your life.

If you let him. The water of the Servant comes only when we confess that we are dirty. Only when we confess that we are caked with filth, that we have walked forbidden trails and followed the wrong paths.

We tend to be proud like Peter and resist. "Iím not that dirty, Jesus. Just sprinkle a few drops on me and Iíll be fine."

What a lie! "If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8 ).

We will never be cleansed until we confess we are dirty. We will never be pure until we admit we are filthy. And we will never be able to wash the feet of those who have hurt us until we allow Jesus, the one we have hurt, to wash ours.

You see, that is the secret of forgiveness. You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. Only by letting him wash your feet can you have strength to wash those of another.

Still hard to imagine? Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you?

If so, go one more time to the room. Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple. Can you see him? Can you hear the water splash? Can you hear him shuffle on the floor to the next person? Good. Keep that image.

John 13:12 says, "when he had finished washing their feet . . ."

Please note, he finished washing their feet. That means he left no one out. Why is that important? Because that also means he washed the feet of Judas. Jesus washed the feet of his betrayer. He gave his traitor equal attention. In just a few hours Judasís feet would guide the Roman guard to Jesus. But at this moment they are caressed by Christ.

Thatís not to say it was easy for Jesus.

Thatís not to say it is easy for you.

That is to say that God will never call you to do what he hasnít already done.
36  Fellowship / Witnessing / Re: Remember... on: March 26, 2006, 07:14:03 AM

I'd rather see a sermon, than to hear one, any day.
I'd rather one should walk with me, than merely show the way.
I can soon learn how to do it, if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run!
All the speeches you deliver, may be wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do.
Though I may not understand you, and the fine advice you give,
There is no misunderstanding how I see you act and live!

~Author Unknown
(Originally posted on CU by Crusader)
37  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Loving Others on: March 26, 2006, 07:09:46 AM
Living the Bible.....

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This literally was his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant, with a potential to go far. He also became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One Sunday Bill decided to go across the street to attend church. He walks in with wild hair, no shoes, jeans and one of his T-shirts on.

The service had already started, so Bill quietly starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, people are really getting a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit. When he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet next to a row.

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

Trying hard to concentrate on his sermon, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A well dressed man, very elegant, very dignified, and walks with a cane. As he starts walking toward Bill, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister hasn't been able continue with his sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

As all eyes watched, they saw this elderly man drop his cane on the floor, and with great difficulty, lower himself down and sit next to Bill.

Everyone is struck with emotion. And as the minister regains control, he starts by saying...

"What I'm about to preach, you will never remember.
What you have just seen, you will never forget.
Reach out a welcoming hand.
Be careful how you live.
You may be the only Bible, some people will ever read".

38  Fellowship / Witnessing / Re: Remember... on: March 26, 2006, 07:08:23 AM
When Jesus Looks
When Jesus looks upon my life,
What picture does He see.
Does He see His own reflection,
Or does He just see me.

Does He see His likeness,
The product of His hand.
Or just another Christian,
Who never took a stand.

Does He see a child of God,
A child that He set free.
Living life to honor Him,
Or does He just see me.

What about the other folks,
I meet along the way.
Do I show them Jesus,
To brighten up their day.

When someone looks into my eyes,
Can they truly see.
That calm and gentle peace of God,
That dwells inside of me.

When I reach out and shake a hand,
Is He right there in my grip.
Can they feel that strength from God,
That steadies when I slip.

When folks are in my presence,
Do they know His Spirit's there.
Can they see that He's the one,
Who guides me everywhere.

When other people think of me,
What is on their mind.
Do they think of Jesus Christ,
So gentle and so kind.

I try to be like Jesus,
Every single day.
Spreading love and kindness,
All along my way.

I'm afraid that I have failed,
I could not pass the test.
Deep inside my heart I know,
I haven't done my best.

I have had to fight my flesh,
Since the day that I was born.
It's always causing trouble,
And being such a thorn.

That's why His Spirit dwells in me,
He's helping me to learn.
In every situation,
Where I need to turn.

He knew I'd never pass the test,
That's why He took my place.
He gave His life to save my soul,
He suffered my disgrace.

Now I try to be like Him,
I must present Him well.
So other folks will want His gift,
And turn their backs on hell.

Other folks should see the joy,
That Christ has given me.
They should want to have it too,
Especially since it's free.

They should begin to ask me,
What is it they must do.
Just how it is they go about,
Getting Jesus too.

Then I get to tell them,
This wondrous gift is free.
It only takes a humble heart,
A prayer on bended knee.

Someday when I'm face to face,
With the Lord who set me free.
Will He see His own reflection,
Or will He just see me.

Chick Velasco
39  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Loving Others on: March 26, 2006, 07:04:45 AM
Let Your Light Shine

Once upon a time a little candle stood in a room filled with other candles, most of them much larger and much more beautiful than she was. Some were ornate and some were rather simple, like herself. Some were white, some were blue, some were pink, some were green. She had no idea why she was there, and the other candles made her feel rather small and insignificant.

When the sun went down and the room began to get dark, she noticed a large man walking toward her with a ball of fire on a stick. She suddenly realized that the man was going to set her on fire. "No, no!" she cried, "Aaaaagghhh! Donít burn me, please!" But she knew that she could not be heard and prepared for the pain that would surely follow.

To her surprise, the room filled with light. She wondered where it came from since the man had extinguished his fire stick. To her delight, she realized that the light came from herself.

Then the man struck another fire stick and, one by one, lit the other candles in the room. Each one gave out the same light that she did.

During the next few hours, she noticed that, slowly, her wax began to flow. She became aware that she would soon die. With this realization came a sense of why she had been created. "Perhaps my purpose on earth is to give out light until I die," she mused. And thatís exactly what she did.

God created you and I to produce light in a dark world. Our purpose on this earth is to let our lights shine so that God may be glorified.

Still More Hot Illustration For Youth Talks
Wayne Rice, Zondervan, p. 43
40  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Re: Loving Others on: March 26, 2006, 06:58:25 AM
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruitófruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

This is my command: Love each other.

The World Hates the Disciples
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.

As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.'

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin.

Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin.

But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'
"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

John 15:12-27
41  Theology / Bible Prescription Shop / Loving Others on: March 26, 2006, 06:51:52 AM
I heard a short talk the other day on loving other Christians. And the young lady covered the quote I've heard all my life in churches:
"You have to love them, you don't have to like them."

But then she went on from there and asked how you can love someone and not even like them?

That's so much different than "hating the sin, loving the sinner".
She made some really good points!

The solutions offered were to pray hard about it! Ask God to let you see them through His eyes! And to focus on the good qualities they do have and not just the things you don't like.

Are we willing to stand up for a brother/sister in Christ? Or are we only willing to stand up for ourselves?

With that in mind, I began a search through Scripture.

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are:
Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God;
nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Love one another
 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous.

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.

Anyone who does not love remains in death.

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:10-18
42  Fellowship / Just For Women / Re: The Ministry of Motherhood on: March 26, 2006, 06:32:56 AM

43  Fellowship / Just For Women / Re: The Ministry of Motherhood on: March 26, 2006, 06:28:40 AM
~Things Moms Learn~
I gave you life, but cannot live it for you.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom, but I cannot account for it.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot decide for you.
I can offer you advice, but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends, but cannot choose them for you.
I can advise you about sex, but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you about drink, but I can't say "no" for you.
I can warn you about drugs, but I can't prevent you from using them.
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can't achieve them for you.
I can teach you about kindness, but I can't force you to be gracious.
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.

~Author unknown~
44  Fellowship / Just For Women / Re: The Ministry of Motherhood on: March 26, 2006, 06:14:28 AM
Sometimes Our Kids Drive Us to Jesus

    The king's official said, "Sir, come {to my house} before my
    little son dies." Jesus answered, "Go. Your son will live."
    The man believed what Jesus told him and went home.
                            -- John 4:49-50

Sometimes the circumstances with our children drive us to Jesus for
help. Deep inside our soul, we already know that we should daily seek
Jesus with all of our heart. Unfortunately, everyday "busy-ness" and
routine distractions choke out our apparent hunger to be in his
presence. Then the crisis comes and we realize again how much we need
him. The real question for us is whether we will come to Jesus for help
in our time of need. If your concern for children or grandchildren is
heavy on your heart, please turn to Jesus for a listening ear, a
sensitive heart, and the power to act. If you aren't at the point of
crisis, now is the best time to bring your children and grandchildren
to the Lord in prayer and through time spent with them with a focus on
the Lord.

Father, give me the courage to seek you in my crises and trust Jesus to
act in my world to provide the opportunity for change. Give me the
discipline and the will to bring my family to you before the crisis.
Make my house a house in which your name is praised and your love is
shared. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

45  Fellowship / You name it!! / Re: Happy Mothers Day on: March 26, 2006, 06:00:28 AM
Awwww! That's very kind of you!  Cheesy
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