Connecting man to man to God
For week of November 6, 2011
Issue 381

The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others. 

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“The earth is filled with your love, O LORD; teach me your decrees.”
Psalm 119:64

“A life in thankfulness releases the glory of God.”
Bengt Sundberg

HarperCollins Publishers today announced it was buying Christian/inspirational publisher Thomas Nelson "for an undisclosed sum." It's a huge move since the company will now reportedly control about half of the Christian publishing market.

The question now is how the acquisition will play with Zondervan, Thomas Nelson's chief competition. HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, acquired Zondervan in 1988. (It also owns religion and spirituality imprint HarperOne.) Thomas Nelson says it is reportedly the largest Christian publisher in the world and the seventh largest trade-book publisher in the United States. Zondervan says it is the world's leading Bible publisher.... Read this in full at

About one in five Protestant churches in America is now independent of any denomination, and about one in five Protestants attends those independent churches, Duke sociologist Mark Chaves says in his new book American Religion: Contemporary Trends.

Chaves, professor of sociology, religion, and divinity at Duke University in Durham, N.C., and director of the National Congregations Study, says the number of Protestants attending independent churches increased from 14% in 1989 to 19% in 2006.

“If the unaffiliated congregations were all in one denomination, they would constitute the second largest in number of participants (behind only the Roman Catholic Church) and the largest number of congregations,” Chaves writes. “Although most Protestant churches are denominational, a noticeable and growing minority are not formally affiliated with any denomination.”

Chaves says an increase of 5 percentage points in the number of people attending independent churches may not seem like much, but he noted that growth occurred over a period of just eight years. He adds those numbers probably understate the cultural significance of the trend, because denominational affiliations seem to be decreasingly important to congregations and their members even when they do exist.... Read this in full at

An article by the Association of Religion Data Archives (@ReligionData) says, “Even though research shows spiritually alive churches are the most likely to grow, the percentage of US congregations reporting high spiritual vitality declined from 43% in 2005 to 28% in 2010, according to the latest Faith Communities Today survey.”

The drop was accompanied by a decline in the emphasis given to spiritual practices such as prayer and scripture reading across nearly all groups aside from white evangelicals and congregations with 1,000 or more attenders.

The most notable slide occurred among white mainline Protestant denominations, which have been aging and losing members faster than any other major religious group.

The reasons are varied: Declining financial health in the recession saps morale; aging memberships are less likely to embrace new forms of worship; some denominations have shifted emphasis away from personal piety toward social service programs....Read this in full at

by Tim Ellsworth
My son Daniel and I were just at one of the most thrilling World Series games in history. After playing incredibly sloppy baseball for most of it, the Cardinals tied it in the ninth, tied it again in the 10th and won it on a David Freese walk-off homer in the 11th.

And I'm sitting here in my hotel room trying to come to grips with the fact that I left after the seventh.

Had I been by myself or with another adult, there's no way I would have taken off. Yes, I was incredibly frustrated with the way the Cardinals were playing. Matt Holliday cost the Cards a run when he missed a fly ball in left field and another run when he inexplicably got picked off third base. Freese himself dropped a routine pop fly that gave the Rangers another run.... Read this in full at

by Clare De Graaf
One of the primary reasons why most of us don’t get better at following Jesus more spontaneously is uncertainty. We’re just not certain what the will of God is for us and for heaven’s sake, we wouldn’t want to make a decision that was out of the will of God, would we? So, Christians have developed some interesting methods for finding the will of God. They almost always center around asking God for a SIGN.

Ken Davis, a Christian comedian, tells the humorous story of a Christian who gets on an empty city bus, walks to the rear and sits down. “Lord,” he prays, “If you want me to speak to someone about you, please give me a sign.” At the next stop a passenger gets on and goes right to the back of the bus and sits next to the Christian. “Do you know anything about Jesus?” the passenger asks.

The Christian excuses himself for a moment and slowly bows his head once again and prays, “Lord, if you really want me to talk to this stranger, I need just one more sign. Please turn the bus driver into an armadillo.” .... Read this in full at

     A RIDDLE :)
Can you answer all seven of the following questions with the same word?
1. The word has seven letters
2. Preceded God
3. Greater than God
4. More evil than the devil
5. All poor people have it
6. Wealthy people need it
7. If you eat it, you will die

ANSWER: The word is “Nothing”

by Leonard Sweet
In the New Testament era, when a person was called a Christian, it meant a "little Christ." We live in an era when we embrace "iTunes," "iPhones," "iPads," "iPods," and much more. Yet, the greatest complement that we could have before our name would be a little j, jFollower, signifying that we are followers of Jesus or a "little Christ."

I chose to write I Am A Follower (Thomas Nelson, 2011) to move us:
* from leaders that are over to followers that are among
* from sages and gurus to scouts and guides
* from Saul's armor to David's sling
* from having the right answers to asking the right questions
* from architects to gardeners
See more information about I Am A Follower at

by Julian Doorey
My name is Julian Doorey, a New Zealander. My wife, two children, and I represent the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, living and working in Bangladesh since March 2002. My passion (and my job) is to assist the national church to share God's love with the poor by promoting holistic mission and facilitating church-based community development. This involves working in partnership with the national Bangladesh Baptist Church.

And unlike many foreigners, we try to give regularly to beggars. Here are a few thoughts about how we approach the topic of giving to the poor.... Read this in full at Jesus Tapping on Your Window?

Evangelical leaders Jim Wallis and R. Albert Mohler Jr., in a debate over the church's role in social justice, agreed that Christians have a duty to care for the poor but disagreed whether that task is part of the gospel itself.

The debate, hosted by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School's Henry Center for Theological Understanding, was cordial and saw the two men agree on several issues but disagree on the debate's core question: Is social justice an essential part of the mission of the church? Wallis, president of Sojourners, took the "yes" position while Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, took the "no" position.

Good works are important, Mohler said in the Oct. 27 debate, but they are not the church's mission.

"Everything the church does is not its mission," Mohler said. "There are many things that the church is involved with that are not essentially its mission but are nonetheless what Christ's people do precisely because they belong to Christ."

When the apostles preached the gospel in the New Testament, Mohler said, they were referencing God's redemption of sinners -- and not social justice.

"The gospel is about how sinners who rightly deserve nothing but the eternal condemnation of God nonetheless are redeemed by His decisive act in Jesus Christ to redeemed sinners," Mohler said.

Wallis disagreed with Mohler's definition of "gospel," saying the gospel is about both personal salvation and social justice, and he argued that it's important not to separate the personal aspect of the gospel from its application.

"Justice is integral to the gospel itself," Wallis said. Conservatives and liberals each have gotten the gospel wrong, Wallis added.

"Too many liberals have a social cause but have dropped the altar call -- no more conversion," Wallis said. "Too many conservatives have an altar call but no more mission to the world. We must move away from an either/or gospel. It's time for both/and biblical thinking." .... Read this in full at

by Shane Claiborne
A reporter recently asked me, “As a Christian leader, does your faith have anything to say about Wall Street?” I said, “How much time do you have?”

Theologian Karl Barth said, “We have to read the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.” For too long we Christians have used our faith as a ticket out of this world rather than fuel to engage it.

In his parables, Jesus wasn’t offering pie-in-the-sky theology – he was talking about the real stuff of earth. He talks about wages, debt, widows and orphans, unjust business owners and bad politicians. In fact Woody Guthrie breaks it all down in his song “Jesus Christ.” The song ends with Woody singing, “This song was written in New York City. If Jesus were to preach what he preached in Galilee, they would lay him in his grave again.” .... Read this in full at

Publishers Weekly recently reported that we are in the midst of a “Digital Bible Explosion.” Apps of the Bible are now more frequently downloaded than Angry Birds, and the sacred texts of other religions aren’t far behind: there’s an iQuran, iTorah, and a digital Book of Mormon. There are devotional apps of other sorts as well. For Catholics, there's EZPray, the Vatican-endorsed iBreviary, and Confession (which leads you through a personalized “examination of conscience” to prepare you for the sacrament); for Muslims, there’s Islamic Compass, which promises to give “the most accurate prayer times”; for Jews, there’s a combination Siddur and Zmanim; for Protestants, there’s Daily Jesus (a daily quote generator), Bible Blocks (a Tetris-like game that rewards players with a Bible verse between levels), and my favorite, Granny’s Bible Dojo (Granny cracks boards with karate chops, and helps you learn the order of the books of the Bible).... Read this in full at

Evangelist Billy Graham will turn 93 on November 7, following the release of his 30th book, "Nearing Home," through which he shares personal autobiographical reflections and wisdom on growing old.

"All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in my latter years," Mr. Graham wrote. "I wanted to share some of the things I have learned about this stage in life with others, as the aging process is something most of us will experience."

While working on the book consumed much of his focus during the previous year, Mr. Graham still found time to spend with family members, sharing his life and thoughts with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as he encourages others to do with their own families.... Read this in full at

A headline on an Internet site read, "Death, the nation's #1 killer." The point was obvious — death is inevitable! No one can outrun death. It will catch up to all of us eventually. When I was interviewed by Newsweek in 2006 and asked to give a statement about death, I commented that I had been taught all of my life how to die, but no one had ever taught me how to grow old. That statement triggered a lot of interest, and I began thinking about a book on the subject.

I am certainly no expert on the subject of growing old, but now that I am gaining some experience, I have to admit that not all things get better with age. I have a newfound appreciation — and understanding — when I read this passage in Ecclesiastes 12: Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, … Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed. (vv. 1, 6 NKJV)

When I read this passage as a young preacher, I can assure you I did not relate to it as I do now. What impresses me now is that Solomon, the wisest king ever to rule Israel, intended for the young to read it "in the days of … youth, *before* the difficult days come" (emphasis added).... Read this in full at

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is releasing more than 1,600 messages from more than six decades of Billy Graham's evangelistic ministry -- all available for streaming online at

Billy Graham once said, "One of the great joys of my life has been to travel around the world and meet thousands of Christians in every country." With the launch of the Billy Graham Audio Archives, thousands of people from around the world will be able to access the words and messages of Billy Graham and have another chance to "meet" the man often referred to as "America's pastor."

Visitors can access an online collection of hundreds of audio files -- some 900 plus from Billy Graham Crusades. Other messages in the digital archive include select Hour of Decision broadcasts from 1951-1974; addresses from events ranging from the Amsterdam 1986 global evangelistic summit to Graham's final crusade in 2005; and comments of historical importance including remarks at the funeral service of President Lyndon B. Johnson.... Read this in full at

Last month in Israel, archeologists unveiled a tiny box carved of bone some 1,600 years ago and discovered during excavations in Jerusalem two years ago. When the cross-inscribed lid is removed, the remains of two portraits are still visible in paint and gold leaf. The figures are probably saints, and may be Jesus and the Virgin Mary.... Read this in full at

Don’t expect to see the glittering marvels of King Tut’s tomb. Few artifacts at the provocative new exhibition at Discovery Times Square —“The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times” — will inspire aesthetic wonder. Pottery, silver coins, iron arrowheads, limestone pitchers, scraps of parchment — such are the seemingly mundane yields of many archaeological excavations, and they are prevalent here as well.

The understated result is almost jarring. Other exhibitions created by Running Subway Productions in this space are typically more extroverted, whether they are large commercial ventures (a second show here is based on the television franchise “CSI”) or substantial historical examinations of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions or Pompeii’s ruins.

And while there is some attempt at spectacle — when an actor welcomes you into a gallery showing stunning scenes of the Dead Sea, or when you descend a staircase and see 10 fragments of the scrolls dramatically arranged in a rotunda — this exhibition’s real enticements lie elsewhere. They come not from appearance, but from explanation; not from objects, but from connections among them; not from stunning displays, but from intellectual vistas.... Read this in full at

by Erik Alsgaard
“Susan” is a young Christian who now attends church irregularly. She used to come every Sunday with her parents, but when she reached her freshman year in college in 2010, she, like many others, stopped going to church—until this past Sunday, that is, when she appeared back in church along with a few college friends. It was great to see her again, everyone remarked.

During the worship service, while the ushers were taking up the offering, I sent Susan a text message saying how nice it was to see her in church and that it was great she had brought along some friends. She responded with a quick note: “Thanks.”

After church, one of the members of the congregation told me how rude it was that Susan was sending text messages during church. “She was replying to me,” I said. “Well, I told her that she should have her cell phone turned off during worship,” the member added.

And we wonder why young Christians leave the church.... Read this in full at

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
Psalm 95:6-7

“Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are not an ‘accident,’ but a divine choice.”
Henri J. Nouwen

The US House of Representatives on Nov. 1 passed, 396-9, a concurrent resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto.

The resolution ( was introduced by Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. It is a concurrent resolution because the Senate already passed a similar resolution in 2006 for the 50th anniversary of “In God We Trust” as the nation's motto. Resolutions do not carry the force of law and do not require the president's signature.

Raffirming the national motto “directly confronts a disturbing trend of inaccuracies and omissions, misunderstandings of church and state, rogue court challenges, and efforts to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats,” Forbes said.... Read this in full at

by Jonathan Parnell
Crawford Loritts reflects on five lessons he learned from his father on how to speak so that your children take your words seriously:
1. Don't waste words. Don't add a lot of apologies or unnecessary detail that make you look timid.
2. Don't threaten.
3. Be clear about expectations. When you tell someone, especially a child, how to behave or what to do, make sure you both are very clear about what you expect.
4. Be clear about consequences, particularly if your expectations involve an area with which that child has struggled in the past.
5. Take clear, decisive action.... Read this in full at

by John Ortberg
Human beings cannot stop longing for salvation. Even if we don't believe in God, we want to be delivered or rescued from the something inside us that cannot be satisfied. I sometimes think in our day we have just secularized salvation. We have made it economic and therapeutic. Our hope for salvation lies in being successful enough or happy enough. We're not there yet. But maybe with a little more work ... a little more success.... Read this in full at

In the closing moments of the Denver Broncos verses Miami Dolphins game last Sunday, Denver quarterback Tim Tebow was shown bowing, on one knee, praying on the sidelines next to his fellow teammates while they waited for Matt Prater to hit the 52-yard field goal that gave Denver an 18-15 victory in overtime. Little did Tebow know at the time that his sideline prayer would start a new trend, called “Tebowing.”

According to, the word means to “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” The website features funny photos of people praying on one knee in various locations, and encourages others to submit their own photos.

What isn't clear is whether or not the site's creators mean to mock Tebow or if it is just done out of good humor, but either way the Broncos quarterback seems to approve of it.... Read this in full at

“My prayer is that we discover fully the joy of the gospel and that we give ourselves permission to [serve]. By now you know I believe deeply in the journey to the end of our selves, the place where Jesus is often found, and where God is ultimately glorified. That place is where peace is found. It's where joy is found. Where contentment in our journey is found. As Albert Schweitzer once said, ‘One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.’

“The most frequent question I hear is this one: ‘Where do I start?’ Honestly, it depends... Who are you? ... What's your role in [your church or organization]? ... The answers to these questions might give some clarity as to whether this change is to be about you, the [church] you want to see changed, or both.

“The good news is that anyone at any time can [serve others' needs]. It's a decision of the mind and heart. The most beautiful part about our journey is that it's our journey, and it must start with a personal response prior to a [group] response. There is always a bigger picture, but our piece of that bigger picture is critical. Every Christian has been given the priestly responsibility of being a minister of hope and reconciliation. Whether or not we embrace that calling impacts us; how we embrace it impacts others.

“First, just do something. Seek out more understanding and seek out simple opportunities. Make care packages with your family for Valentine's Day and hand them out to the homeless, spend a day of volunteering at the local food pantry, sponsor a single mom for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas, or volunteer at the nursing home. Pray for God to open your eyes to a new level of need and a new level of willingness to do something. I assure you, your eyes will be opened.”
Brandon Hatmaker in Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) ( has received a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., to study how Americans relate to the Bible in their everyday lives, according to Inside Indiana Business. The three-year project, "The Bible in American Life," is the first large-scale national study on the way scripture is read and interpreted. Philip Goff, one of three who will lead the study, says the project is driven by the recognition that although the Bible has been central to both public life and Christian practice throughout American history, not much is known about how people read the Bible for themselves or how religious life and practice affect people's understanding of scripture. The first stage of the study, in 2012, will focus on research, and the second stage, in 2013, will involve a cultural and historical interpretation by Bible scholars. A national conference of the findings will be presented in 2014.

A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the most frequent reason teenagers give for abstaining from sex is that the behavior goes against their religion or morals. Among the 57% of girls and 58% of boys ages 15-19 who said they had never had sex, 41% of girls and 31% of boys chose "against religion or morals" as their main reason for not being sexually active. The least-chosen option was "don't want to get a sexually transmitted disease." Researchers also found that the rate of teenagers having sex has declined slightly from the last report, which was released in 2002; however, the percent of sexually active teen females has decreased dramatically since 1988 -- down from 51% to 43%. Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said the study showed the abstinence movement and message were "not only resonating, but also making a difference in the lives of youth."

Officials in Burma's Kachin state have issued new regulations requiring churches to submit requests to the local government at least 15 days in advance for permission to conduct Bible studies, Sunday school, Bible reading, and fasting prayer, ASSIST News Service reports. Currently, Burmese churches are required to obtain permission for any events other than Sunday services, but the new regulations impose even more severe restrictions. "It appears that despite changes in rhetoric, there has been no change of attitude ... on the part of Burmese authorities to religious minorities," said Benedict Rogers of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Burma is regarded as one of the world's worst violators of religious freedom, and "to impose a requirement on churches and individuals to seek permission to read the Bible, pray, fast and hold a Sunday school is ... an extraordinary further violation," Rogers said.

Religious freedom advocates are petitioning legislators to reauthorize an international religious freedom agency that will cease to exist on Nov. 18 unless members of Congress take action. One US senator is currently preventing a vote on a bill that would keep alive the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors, raises awareness and informs government officials of threats to religious freedom around the world.

"Failure to reauthorize the USCIRF would send a message to the rest of the world that religious freedom is not a national priority," said Lindsay Vessey of Open Doors USA. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, an interfaith affairs director in Los Angeles, said: "We need a strong, independent USCIRF to make a difference in the lives of millions of people who have no other voice. Reauthorization is vital to the voiceless and to US interests."

A recent Pew Forum report found more than 2.2 billion people live in countries where hostilities or government restrictions on religion rose substantially from 2006 to 2009, a report that religious freedom experts called "troubling."

by Erich Bridges
As the global population reached an estimated 7 billion in October, crowds in the United States and other developed countries were "occupying" various city parks and squares to protest corporate greed and other perceived inequalities.

Elsewhere, billions of people continued to focus on more immediate concerns -- daily food, water, survival or simple recognition as human beings with inherent worth and dignity. A few snapshots:

India, predicted to overtake China as the world's most populous country within 20 years, will have to fit a projected 1.6 billion people into about a third of the land China has. Some parts of the Indian subcontinent are rapidly progressing; others, not so much. Fifteen people in India commit suicide every hour, according to a new government report.... Read this in full at

The Dead Sea is one of 28 finalists in the most recent New7Wonders Foundation challenge. This year, the foundation has been encouraging people around the world to vote and choose the world’s New7Wonders of Nature, and countries bordering the Dead Sea hope that this beautiful natural wonder will be voted one of the final seven.

You have until November 11 to vote.

1. If walking/cycling is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.

2. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, and is fat.

3. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years.

4. A tortoise doesn't run and does nothing, yet it lives for 450 years.

And you tell me to exercise?? I don't think so. It's the tortoise life for me!

“As the mother's womb holds us for nine months, making us ready, not for the womb itself, but for life, just so, through our lives, we are making ourselves ready for another birth...Therefore look forward without fear to that appointed hour- the last hour of the body, but not of the soul...That day, which you fear as being the end of all things, is the birthday of your eternity.”

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28

Words: The Psalter, 1912
Music: Alexander R. Reinagle, 1836

O come and sing to the God, the Lord,
To Him our voices raise;
Let us in our most joyful songs
The Lord, our Savior, praise.

Before His presence let us come
With praise and thankful voice;
Let us sing joyful psalms to Him,
With grateful hearts rejoice.

The Lord Our God is King of kings,
Above all gods His throne;
The depths of earth are in His hand,
The mountains are His own.

To Him the spacious sea belongs,
He made its waves and tides;
And by His hand the rising land
Was formed and still abides.

O come and, bowing down to Him,
Our worship let us bring;
O let us praise the gracious Lord,
Our Maker and our King.

>from NetHymnal at

“More prayer, more exercise of faith, more patient waiting, and the result will be blessing, abundant blessing. Thus I have found it many hundreds of times, and therefore I continually say to myself, ‘Hope thou in God.’”
George Mueller


Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like us to add you to our prayer chain to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]

Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I'll put it in this newsletter.

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Let me show you how to earn money as you travel!
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Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why. 

This is Our City: new urban multimedia ministry

Amazing photo of a house on a rock

Amazing pumpkin carving

Map of the Earth at night

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry. 

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.) 

My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of good judgment.
Min. Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ. 
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program. 
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