Four Dimensions of God’s Love, Part IV

Worship Service for May 10, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and peacefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

But before we begin to worship, I have a few church announcements:

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Although it seems like the day is getting closer, we still do not know for sure when we will be able to resume corporate worship. Our leaders met last Sunday and decided we didn’t have enough information to announce a re-opening date at this time. When they have made a decision, I will let you know.

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format at the top of this post.

I will be at the church building again between 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm for those of you who choose to drop off your offering. Look for a box on a stand in the lobby. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Happy Mother’s Day!

I have a book that contains the following Mother’s Day story:

“A friend of mine use to work in a small neighborhood dress shop, the Fig Leaf. One Saturday afternoon a little girl came in the store with her piggybank and announced she wanted to buy her mother a Mother’s Day present. The clerk friend helped her get all the coins out of the bank and counted them and let her know she had enough to buy a blouse. “Would your mother like a nice blouse?”
“Oh yes, a blouse would be perfect,” the child replied.
“What size is your mother?” the clerk asked.
“She’s the perfect size,” the little girl said.
So the clerk sold her a size 34 blouse.

The Monday after Mother’s Day the little girl and her mother came into the store to exchange the size 34 blouse for a size 42. The fashion world’s idea of a perfect size and that little girl’s idea were worlds apart. The difference was a heart full of love. 1

Now allow me to invite you to worship with this awe-inspiring opening written in the New Testament letter titled Hebrews:

CALL TO WORSHIP

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

Hebrews 1:1-3

SONGS OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE

Meekness and Majesty

Kendrick, Graham

Meekness and majesty, Manhood and Deity,
In perfect harmony, the Man who is God.
Lord of eternity, dwells in humanity,
Kneels in humility and washes our feet.

O what a mystery, Meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship….for this is your God.

Father’s pure radiance, perfect in innocence,
Yet learns obedience to death on a cross.
Suffering to give us life,
Conquering through sacrifice,
And as they crucify, prays, ‘Father, forgive.’

O what a mystery, Meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship…for this is your God.

Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible,
Love indestructible in frailty appears.
Lord of infinity, stooping so tenderly,
Lifts our humanity to the heights of His throne.

O what a mystery, Meekness and majesty;
Bow down and worship…for this is your God.

©1986 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music (admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Now That You’re Near

Sampson, Marty

Hold me in Your arms…never let me go.
I want to spend eternity with You.

I stand before You Lord… and give You all my praise
Your love is all I need…Jesus, You’re all I need.
My life belongs to You…You gave Your life for me.
Your grace is all I need…Jesus You’re all I need.

Hold me in Your arms…never let me go
I want to spend eternity with You.

And now that You’re near, everything is different
Everything’s so different Lord.
I know I’m not the same…my life You’ve changed
I want to be with You…I want to be with You.

I stand before You Lord… and give You all my praise
Your love is all I need…Jesus, You’re all I need.
My life belongs to You…You gave Your life for me.
Your grace is all I need…Jesus You’re all I need.

Hold me in Your arms…never let me go
I want to spend eternity with You.

And now that You’re near, everything is different
Everything’s so different Lord.
I know I’m not the same…my life You’ve changed
I want to be with You…I want to be with You.

Now that You’re near, everything is different
Everything’s so different Lord.
I know I’m not the same…my life You’ve changed
I want to be with You…I want to be with You.
I want to be with You…with You.

This arrangement©2008 Hillsong Publishing (admin in the US and Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music/ASCAP
CCLI License No. 1843349

Think About His Love

Harrah, Walt

Think about His love.
Think about His goodness.
Think about His grace
That’s brought us through.
For as high as the heavens above,
So great is the measure of our Father’s love.
Great is the measure of our Father’s love.

Think about His love.
Think about His goodness.
Think about His grace
That’s brought us through.
For as high as the heavens above,
So great is the measure of our Father’s love.
Great is the measure of our Father’s love.

Great is the measure of our Father’s love.
Great is the measure of our Father’s love.

©1987 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music,Inc.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Our Heavenly Father, as we think about Your love, how You, the Creator of all there is, willingly suffered the indignity of death on the cross to offer us forgiveness and life, we bow down and worship for You are our God. As a result of our worship today, enable us to come to a deeper appreciation for how high You have lifted our humanity. Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

PRAYER SONG

Blessed

Zschech, Darlene/Morgan, Reuben

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You

Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You
Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God

We will go from strength to strength
Till we see You face to face
Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our land as we seek You
Worship You.

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You
Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God

We will go from strength to strength
Till we see You face to face
Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our land, as we seek You
Worship You

Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our land as we seek You
Worship You.

For You are holy, for You are holy, for You are holy, Lord
For You are holy, for You are holy, for You are holy, Lord
For You are holy, for You are holy, for You are holy, Lord
For You are holy, for You are holy, for You are holy, Lord

Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our land as we seek You
Worship You

Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our land as we seek You
Worship You.

©2002 Darlene Zschech/Reuben Morgan/Hillsong Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

THE MORNING PRAYER

Nancy Carr

Yes! Hear Our Prayer, Lord!

We ask you today, right here, right now to “Come Bless Our Land.”

Come bless this great land you have created and given to your children to share.

Bless our one nation under God.

We are the people you watch over, the sheep under your care.

You rescue us from every trap and protect us from the fatal plague.

You shield and shelter us. Your faithful promises are our armor and protection.

Blessed are those who dwell in your shelter Lord. You hide us beneath your mighty wings.

May our lips speak your mercies to everyone we meet. May we be witnesses to those in need of your salvation.

Let our hearts rise to greet you each morning, with gratitude and thanksgiving, as we praise your holy name.

Give us wisdom to share your Word with grace and forgiveness.

Thank you for the freedom to worship you, our God. Let your truth be the path that guides us each day.

Give us strength to endure any hardships we may face, for we know there will be dawn after the night.

Help us to look forward in breathless anticipation of the rainbow after the rain, Lord.

We ask that you lift up all of the faithful CrossPointe family as we wait patiently in hope for the coming days when we will once again worship in your house together!

In Jesus’ name we pray.

THE SCRIPTURES

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NLT)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance-an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

I Peter 1:3-5 (NLT)

For the last three weeks, we have been in a mini-series of messages focusing on Pauls’ prayer in Ephesians 3 where he prays that we might comprehend how wide, and how long, and how deep and how high the love of God is.

And we have explained these four dimensions of God’s love by relating each dimension with a phrase from that jewel of the Bible, John 3:16.

How wide is the love of God?
And John says, “For God so loved the cosmos.”

What is the length of God’s love?
“that He gave His one and only Son.”

And how can we get our minds around the depth of God’s love?
“that whosoever believes in Him”

And today we ask, ‘What is the height of God’s love?’
“that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Four Dimensions of God’s Love, Part IV

Five-year-old daughter Kayse grew more and more excited about going to her first day of kindergarten, and her 4-year-old sister, Jayme, watched her with great fascination. On the Sunday before the first day of school, Kayse fell and skinned her knee. Tears began to flow, and Jayme, seeing the blood on her older sister’s knee, tried to comfort her by saying: “Don’t worry, Kayse, if you die, you’ll go to heaven.”

But Kayse wailed even more. “I don’t want to go to heaven,” she said, “I want to go to kindergarten!” 2

How many of us would echo Kayse’s sentiment: “I don’t want to go to heaven,” . . . yet? We want to go for sure, but most of us aren’t quite ready yet!

We’d rather go to kindergarten! Wouldn’t that be great if we could go back and start all over? Even if we didn’t know what we know now.

When we’re young, heaven is far off in the future; we seldom think about it. But as we get older, thoughts of heaven increase until when you’re my age, we think heaven almost every day.

And as we do, we thank God for loving us so much, that as Fanny Crosby wrote about in her hymn by the same title: He Rescued the Perishing.

How high is the love of God? First of all, “that we might not perish.”

We are perishing people. We wish we weren’t; but we are and we know we are.

Because we are, some good-intentioned folks have dedicated their lives to postponing perishing.

The wild-foods enthusiast Euell Gibbons was far ahead of his time in his advocacy of a diverse plant diet—but he died at age 64 of an aortic aneurysm.

Nathan Pritikin, one of the foremost champions of low-fat diets, died at 69, nearly the same age as Dr. Robert Atkins, who believed in the opposite.

Then there is Jerome Rodale, founder of the publishing empire dedicated to health. In 1971, talk show host Dick Cavett invited Mr. Rodale onto his TV show because Rodale had been hailed as “the guru of the organic food cult.” Mr. Rodale, 72, took his chair next to Mr. Cavett, promptly proclaimed that he would live to be 100, and then made a snoring sound and died right there. 3

We are perishing and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Which shouldn’t surprise us for God said to Adam and Eve: “From dust were you taken, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

In his book, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson takes readers on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human anatomy. Bryson begins by describing the largest organ of the human body, the skin. He notes the outermost surface of the epidermis is made up entirely of dead cells. “It is an arresting thought that all that makes you lovely is deceased. Where body meets air, we are all cadavers.”

He then concludes: “These outer skin cells are replaced every month. We shed skin copiously, almost carelessly: some 25,000 flakes a minute, over a million pieces every hour. Run a finger along a dusty shelf, and you are in large part clearing a path through fragments of your former self. Silently and remorselessly we turn again to dust.” 4

We are perishing and know there’s nothing we can do to stop the decaying process. It’s our greatest fear.

Ah, but the love of God has something better in mind.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save. 5

How high is the love of God? Second, in lieu of perishing, we will have “eternal life.”

Chuck Swindoll came up with this fanciful way of considering eternity: “If you had a solid steel ball the size of the earth, 8,000 miles in diameter; 25,000 miles in circumference, and every one million years a sparrow would be released to land on the ball to sharpen his beak and fly away only to come back another million years later and begin again; by the time he would have worn that steel sphere down to the size of a BB eternity would have just begun.” 6

Thinking of the duration of everlasting life; W. B. Hinson, a great preacher of a past generation, wrote about an experience just before he died. He said, “I remember a year ago when a doctor told me, ‘You have an illness from which you won’t recover.’ I returned to my home 5 miles out from Portland, Oregon and I looked across at that mountain that I love, and I looked at the river in which I rejoice, and that evening I looked up into the sky where God was lighting His lamps. And I said, ‘I may not see you many more times, but mountain, I shall be alive when you are gone, and river, I shall be alive when you cease running toward the sea, and stars, I shall be alive when you have fallen from your places.’” 7

It’s hard to get our minds around eternity and sometimes when we try we wonder, ‘How many times can I play It Is Well on my harp before it gets boring?’

For sure the word eternal means without ending, but I don’t believe it is meant to convey the passing of time as we experience it.

According to the brilliant British Bible scholar, Leon Morris, “The important thing about eternal life is not its quantity but its quality. In Westcott’s phrase, ‘It is not an endless duration of being in time, but being of which time is not a measure.’ 8

For now we are captive to the dimension of time. But time, as we know and experience it, will not exist in heaven.

Quality, not quantity. The thousands of people who report NDE’s talk about ‘quality:’ encountering angels and long lost friends, relatives and loved ones, indescribable colors, feelings of connectedness to all creation.

We don’t know for sure exactly what heaven is going to be like. But don’t believe for a second that you will be bored in heaven!

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).

One of my favorite movies is Field of Dreams. It is a fantasy-film about baseball, the pursuit of a dream, and the nature of heavenly bliss. In the movie, Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice in his cornfield say “If you build it, he will come.” Much to the chagrin of everybody who thinks he’s crazy, Ray builds a baseball diamond on his Iowa farm.

In the closing scene, Ray miraculously is allowed to meet his long-dead father, John Kinsella, from whom Ray was estranged before he died. Ray is standing with his wife Annie along the sidelines of the field. They turn their gaze to home plate. There, standing with his back to them and pulling off his old-fashioned catcher’s equipment, is a young man dressed in the loosely fitting uniform he once wore as a minor leaguer. Suddenly it dawns on Ray that it’s his father, returned from ‘baseball heaven.’ The father begins walking toward his son, taking in the smell of the grass, the sight of the baseball diamond.

Ray turns to Annie and says, “I only saw him years later, when he was worn down by life; what do I say to him?”

Father and son soon stand face to face. “It’s so beautiful here,” says the father. “For me it’s like a dream come true. Can I ask you something? Is this heaven?”

“It’s Iowa,” says Ray.

“I could have sworn it was heaven,” says the father.

Ray asks, “Is there a heaven?”

“Oh yeah,” says the father. “It’s the place dreams come true.”

After a moment, the two shake hands, and as the father walks toward the cornfield where he will once again disappear into baseball heaven. Ray calls out: “Hey, Dad, want to play catch?”

“I’d like that,” says the father.

They walk onto the field together, Ray standing by home plate, his father on the pitcher’s mound, and they begin tossing the ball back and forth.

There is a gleam in their eyes; no words need be spoken. 9

What is heaven like? I don’t know for sure. But whatever it is, it will be beyond our wildest dreams.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9).

And “Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance-an inheritance that is reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:4).

Pastor Mark Mitchell, in a sermon titled, Hope for the Long Tomorrow, tells the story of a guy who, ever since he was a little boy, his parents had promised to give him a beautiful car to drive when he turned 16. He looked forward to keeping it in the family’s barn where he could coddle it. Only first, his dad would have to get rid of that old car that had been sitting for years in the barn under a tarp. He couldn’t wait for his dad to haul it off to the dump to make way for his dream car. But when would his dad get rid of that old junky car under the tarp?

One evening in early summer he heard strange sounds coming from the barn. It sounded like an engine. What was going on? Peering out of the house into the darkness he noticed a light was on in the barn. He walked into the warm night air, down the dirt path, and poked his head into the barn door. When he saw the tarp, rolled up and left against the door, he excitedly thought, Dad is finally getting rid of that junky old car!

Then he saw one of the most incredible sports cars in automotive history. It was a Corvette, but not just any Corvette. It was the coveted, beautiful, powerful 1963 Corvette 327 V8 with a split window, aluminum wheels, painted candy apple red. Boy, was he surprised to learn that was the car underneath the tarp all those years. He was stunned. It was always there, just waiting for him to turn 16.

His father looked up, and with a broad smile, he said, “Come on, son. Let’s take her for a ride.” 10

Someday the Lord himself will roll up the tarp and the heavenly prize which we have been waiting for will be revealed in all its glory. And my guess is, it will far exceed a ‘63 Corvette in its wonder.

For we have not yet ascended to the height of God’s love.

For as wonderful it is to imagine the wonderful possibilities heaven will afford us to be fully alive forever, to see loves ones gone before there is something else that we dare not miss.

In His high priestly prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed, “Father, I want these whom you have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they can see all the glory You gave Me because You loved Me even before the world began! (John 17:24).

The Lord’s desire for us is that we should be with Him and see something of that glory which He shared with His heavenly Father from all eternity.

There is an old story about a Greek Marathon where the runners paced nervously near the starting line for the long-distance race to begin. Two prizes would be awarded the winner of the Marathon: a magnificent bouquet of flowers and the honor of standing beside the king.

In the midst of it all, a young stranger took his place at the starting line. His physique was awesome. There seemed to be no question among about who would win the prize. It is alleged that the stranger was offered money and property not to run. Refusing the offer, when the signal was given, he was the first away. At the finish line, he was the first to cross, well ahead of the rest.

After he won, someone asked him if he thought the flowers were worth the money and property he had refused. He replied, “I did not enter the race for the flowers. I ran so that I could stand beside my king!” 11

Thinking about and imagining the rewards described in scripture “many mansions”, “streets of gold”, “tree of life” father and son reunions, a 63 Corvette; all those experiences won’t hold a candle to the reward of being able to stand beside our King.

I have a strong hunch that it will be then, and not till then that we will fully understand how wide and long and deep and high His love really is. And that’s when Paul’s prayer will finally be answered when we will be filled with all the fullness of the love of God.

“Lord of infinity stooping so tenderly, lifts our humanity to the heights of His throne.” 12

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”

Two strangers, a small boy and an older man, were fishing from the banks of the Mississippi River. As time passed, they discovered that although the fishing was rather poor, the conversation was good. And by the time the sun began to sink in the west, they had talked of many things.

At dusk, a large riverboat was seen moving slowly in the distance. As soon as he saw it, the boy began to wave his arms as if he were trying to attract the attention of those on board. The man watched for some time and then said: “Son, you’re foolish if you think that boat is going to stop for you. It’s on its way to some unknown town up-river and it surely won’t stop for a small boy.”

But then slowly but surely, the paddle wheel boat began to move toward the river bank. To the man’s amazement, the boat came near enough to the shore that a gang-plank was lowered. The boy happily made his way onboard, then turned to his friend on shore. “I’m not foolish, mister; you see, my father is captain of this boat and we’re going to a new home up the river.” 13

Slowly but surely, the currents of time are flowing against us. But someday a boat will show up and pull over to the shore and extend its gang-plank and because we have chosen to believe in Christ we’ll step aboard and it will take us up-river to a place where dreams are born.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Think about His love, think about His goodness,
Think about His grace that’s brought us through,
For as high as the heavens above, so great is the measure of our Father’s love.
Great is the measure of our Father’s love. 14

CLOSING SONG

Mighty To Save

Fielding, Ben/Morgan, Reuben

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that’s never failing,
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness,
Kindness of a Savior,
The hope of nations.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow,
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see
Singing… for the glory of the risen King Jesus
Shine your light and let the whole world see
Singing… for the glory of the risen King.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave.

©2006 Ben Fielding/Reuben Morgan/Hillsong Publishing (admin in the U.S. and Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music)
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Jude 24-25

1 Miller, Larry and Cathy. God’s Chicken Soup for the Spirit. [Lancaster, Pa.: Starburst Publishers, © 1996]. Page 190.

2 Hugh Poland, ‘Kids of the Kingdom,’ Today’s Christian Woman, (July/August 2005) https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2006/march/4030606.html

3 Adapted from Pagan Kennedy, “The Secret to a Longer Life? Don’t Ask These Dead Longevity Researchers,” The New York Times (3-9-18) https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2018/may/deceased-researchers-fail-to-find-secret-to-long-life.html

4 Bill Bryson, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, [New York: Doubleday, © 2019] Page 12.

5 First Verse from the hymn, Rescue the Perishing written by Fanny Crosby 1869. © Public Domain

6 Charles Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart. [Waco, Texas: Word Publishing (1998)] Page 183.

7 http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/e/eternal_life.htm

8 The New International Commentary on the New Testament; F. F. Bruce General Editor. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John. [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, © 1971] Page 227.

9 Field of Dreams, written for the screen and directed by Phil Alden Robinson, produced by the Gordon Company, Universal Pictures, released 1989; submitted to Preaching Today by Gary Wilde https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2001/february/12909.html

10 https://www.preachingtoday.com/sermons/sermons/2015/march/heaven-hope-long-tomorrow.html

11 Alan Smith – Quoted from CCECstorylist:
www.injesus.com/index.php http://saltforsermons.org.uk/category/heaven/

12 From the song, Meekness and Majesty by Graham Kendrick,
© Thank You Music, 1986

13 Our Father’s Home contributed by Bill Butsko on Dec 24, 2006 to Sermon Central Illustrations
https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/30228/our-father-s-home-by-bill-butsko

14 From the song Think about His Love by Walt Harrah
© Hosanna Integrity Music, 1987

Randy K'Meyer

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