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Tag Archive | "Hillcrest Community Church"

Shattered relationships


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319


I am so happy to be able to write on this topic of reconciliation today. Way too often, the death of a parent unfortunately results in great strain on family relationships. The hope is that the loss of a loved one would draw family members together to help each other mourn in a healthy way, bringing comfort to each other and encouragement through the most difficult times. I am in awe of those families that grow stronger through this most difficult time. Those that realize life is too short to live angry and choose reconciliation are able to find peace.

Unfortunately, my family was ripped apart when my mother passed on. Soon it will be 10 years ago. It took more than 7 years of silence before the process of reconciliation began to even seem possible. I never stopped praying for that miracle and believed that one day it would happen. 

I know the scriptures tell us to seek reconciliation and peace as far as it depends on us or to do everything we can on our end to bring reconciliation or peace. Be persistent in your prayers! Don’t give up, no matter what it looks like. Trust God with the outcome as you lift your shattered relationship up to the Lord. Not all broken relationships are a result of a death in the family. Most are actually the result of miscommunication or misunderstandings. And not all broken relationships can or should be reconciled but we must do our part and trust God with the outcome. 

Unforgiveness robs us of joy and holds us hostage. Jesus said, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:15 NLT. And Paul said, “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”Ephesians 4:32 NLT. 

Forgiveness is a gift from God who gives us the power to forgive even the worst offenses. Paul said, “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NLT.  

I just had lunch with my sister that God restored to me, and we talked for hours! What a tremendous gift of reconciliation. We are now closer than ever, convinced and determined to always give the benefit of the doubt and talk it out. We were both so miserable for so many wasted years! Please, don’t waste the years God has blessed you with! Life is way too short.

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Letting go to gain and grow


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319


As I drive down the road, God draws my attention to the trees on the hillside. The beauty of all the fall colors takes my breath away. I watch as the wind blows strong but with a gentle strength as the leaves are pulled away from the branches and go flying around in circles following the breeze. The trees seem to try to hang on to the leaves for as long as they can, almost as a tug of war, ultimately letting go. The leaves chase after the wind for a while then eventually they fall to the ground in piles of multiple colors until they die and turn brown. 

We can depend on this process taking place every year like clockwork. Every year, the trees lose everything as the seasons change again and again throughout their lifetime. Their branches are left bare and cold for the winter. The greatest part of this little observation is that every spring, God restores everything those trees lost and then some. Each year the tree grows taller and bears more branches that produce even more leaves than the year before!

Maybe we shouldn’t be so afraid of letting go of things or people or jobs or lifestyles that have outlived their season in our life. Often God will ask us to let go of one season in order to bless us with our next season. His Promise is to restore that which was lost and redeem even years we may have lost. If we hold onto our hurts, we can’t receive our healing. If we hold tightly to our possessions, our fist is clenched and can’t receive the new and better blessings God wants to give us. If we hold onto our unforgiveness of others, we can’t receive forgiveness from God for our deeds. If you hold tightly to the wrong person you will not be available when God sends the right person your way. God’s plan for us far exceeds our own plans for ourselves. When we follow God wholeheartedly, as Psalm 1:3 says, we are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither (NIV).

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  

A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time (Eccl. 3:1-8, 11)

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Who’s leading you?


Pastor Kristi Rhodes | Hillcrest Community Church | 5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Easter represents the greatest day in all of history for all mankind! Everything happened just as Jesus said it would, and just as the prophets foretold hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. Jesus is Truth and He is incapable of lying or dishonesty.

Jesus said, “The thief (the devil, Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you would have life to the fullest (John 10:10). Satan comes to destroy your family, to destroy your mind, to destroy your health, to destroy your finances, to kill your hope and steal your peace. We are no match for the devil—he’s been around thousands of years.  But the devil is no match for Jesus! Jesus defeated the devil and death when he rose victoriously and conquered the grave. Jesus (the Son of God) appeared to destroy the devil’s work, (1 John 3:8b).  Follow Jesus through His Spirit and live free from the chains of destruction that Satan has tried to bind you with.  

You are a combination of three parts: your body (the flesh), your soul (the mind) and your spirit. We are a spirit that lives in a body that has a mind. Through your body, you relate to the world with your 5 senses. Through your spirit, you relate to the Spirit of light (God) or spirit of darkness (devil) to guide your life. Through your soul (mind), you decide which you will obey. I know it’s kind of deep.  But this is where decisions are made. Joyce Myers wrote a book on this called “Battlefield of the Mind.” You may find it quite helpful if you’re struggling in this area.  

This morning when I got up, I thought I might feast on the leftover chocolate cake for breakfast.  But looking at the swimming pool out the kitchen window, (that we will be opening up soon), I decided maybe that wasn’t the best idea. This was my conscience (mind) telling me that my flesh (body) is wrong. Although the cake was tempting, it was not the best choice.  

God wants us to walk in the Spirit and enjoy the life we were intended to have, life to the fullest, a life of favor and grace. When you make decisions today, listen to your spirit that has first surrendered to God. His still small voice is leading you in the direction your life needs to take so that you may walk in victory over the flesh and the schemes of the devil. You cannot walk in the anointing (Spirit) that God has for you and mirror the devil at the same time. If you follow where the Holy Spirit leads, you will never take a wrong turn!  

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23).  


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The First Question


Pastor Kristi Rhodes of Hillcrest Community Church 5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Aaah, a new year! Each year is an opportunity for a fresh start. But then, so is each week. Actually, so is each DAY! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! I am certainly not the first one to say that, but the question is, why do we wait even another minute to make positive changes in our lives?

One of the things I have done each year for several years now is to read the entire bible in a year. There is actually an app on my phone to keep me on track with this. A few days ago, I was reading about when doubt first entered the world. Did you know that the very first question in the Bible was presented by Satan to Eve in order to cast doubt on the goodness of God? Look it up, it is in Genesis chapter 3. “Did God really say…?”  

Do you ever find yourself doubting whether God’s way really is the best way? Do you find yourself wondering whether, even though God says it is wrong, something is worth trying anyway?

God gave humankind everything they could possibly want. The entire created world was made for us to enjoy. Every possible need was provided for us. Yet despite God’s perfect provision of everything good, humans looked for something more and gave in to the temptation to take the forbidden fruit. It all started with doubts about God planted by the enemy of our soul in the form of a question. Behind the question, “Did God really say…?” is the demonic lie that God is withholding from you something that is really exciting.  

Eve’s first mistake was to even engage with the snake in conversation in the first place. We are created to converse with God, not the devil. The devil fools Eve, like he still does with us today, that there will be no consequences to her sin, to disobeying God.  The consequences to this one choice changed the entire course of mankind in the world.  

But Jesus made a choice that would change the course of life for all eternity! He chose to come to earth and pay the penalty for all the sins of the world, restoring a perfect relationship with the Father for all who will believe and receive Him.

There are certainly consequences to the choices we make. Each day as well as each year is an opportunity to choose the journey God has marked before us. On this journey, He promises to lead us, to guide us, to protect us, to provide for us, to show us mercy, grace and love. There is an excitement for life with God unmatched by anything the world will ever be able to even come close to.  

My prayer for every one of you reading this today is that you will make a firm commitment to follow God’s path marked out for you this year. If you stay the course, I guarantee God will not disappoint you.


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Conflict: the great distraction


Pastor Kristi Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

One thing everyone will come face to face with at some point in their life (some more than others), is conflict.  Sadly enough, it has the power to destroy relationships, friendships and even entire families. Just imagine the devastation it causes churches, which only distracts from the very purpose for their existence.

While watching a National Geographic episode on animal communities in the wild, it reminded me of the safari we were on in Africa a couple years ago. There were very large herds of antelope and other various animals. Normally they are very alert to predators. However, as two of the antelope began to fight, others in the herd seemed to become absorbed in the fight and soon they were oblivious to the fact that there was a lion prowling around just watching for an opportunity to attack.

This is the very picture that God paints for us in His Word. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour! This spoke to me as a strong warning for the Church. In the church, when we fight one another, we become distracted and vulnerable to attack. The more people that get distracted by getting involved in various disputes, the less effective we become for God’s Kingdom in ministry.  

I see it on a more personal level with individual families. If Satan, the enemy of our soul, can keep God’s children distracted by fighting each other, we won’t be fighting him. He will be able to just prance in and devour our young, weak and vulnerable. Then we wonder, how did this happen?

Life here on earth involves many battles in which God promises you victory through Jesus Christ. There are always going to be challenges, difficulties and problems to solve. Still there are times when they intensify, and we seem to be coming under major attack. Martin Luther King said that the ultimate measure of a person is not where we stand when things are going great, but where we stand in moments of challenge, moments of great crisis and controversy.   

There are many verses in Proverbs as well as throughout the Bible that contrast the “wise and the foolish.” A few things I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) 

  • Avoid unnecessary quarrelling—don’t sweat the small stuff or the disputable matters.  
  • Seek wise counsel; not just anyone who will listen. Don’t involve others in your disagreement. Gossip is another ugly distraction.
  • Trust that God can bring good out of evil. Turn it over to Him and follow His lead.
  • Strengthen one another. Pray for each other.

Let’s be vigilant as God instructs us. Focus on what unites instead of what divides.

We need unity in the family of believers, united in Christ for battle against the real enemy. Less fighting each other and more fighting the real enemy. That’s where we truly belong!

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Brush fire burns out of control


Wind caused this fire to burn out of control last week. Post photos by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Dry and windy conditions caused a brush fire to spread out of control behind a home in Nelson Township last week. 

Cedar Springs Fire was called to the scene behind a home on 18 Mile, just to the east of Hillcrest Community Church, on Friday, March 23. 

According to Fire Chief Marty Fraser, when the fire began to spread, the homeowner attempted to put it out but could not get it under control. Approximately two acres was burned. 

The fire department got it knocked downand then went over the hot spots.

The Michigan DNR had a burning ban out for northern Michigan, and most of the fire departments in the lower peninsula also had a burning ban on for the dry, windy conditions. Anyone in the lower peninsula who wants to burn brush needs to call their local fire department to get a burn permit prior to burning.

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God’s got this


Pastor Kristi J. Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

Maybe you’ve noticed the tremendous increase of struggles in the lives of people you love. Maybe you’ve seen more and more people struggling with destructive addictions and hurts, habits and hang-ups both from the recent and distant past. Maybe it’s even YOU that have been battling demons with increasing difficulty.

It is easy to believe that there is no way out and that no one really even cares. But I am here today to speak truth to you. Truth is, “If God could close the mouth of lions for Daniel, part the Red Seas for Moses, make the sun stand still for Joshua, open the prison for Peter, put a baby in the arms of Sarah, and raise Lazarus from the dead, then He can certainly take care of you! Nothing you are facing today is too hard for Him to handle!” (Anonymous writer)

Truth is:  Nothing is impossible with God but apart from him, we can do nothing. Our hope is in him. Get connected and stay in close relationship with Jesus. Satan and his dark forces have been around much longer than we have. We are no match for him alone, but with God, we can do all things.  

Jesus is the only one who has gone toe to toe with Satan and defeated him. In Christ, believers have been given authority over the dark forces, which is something Satan wants to keep you from learning. If you don’t know you have authority over Satan and his demons, he will continue to defeat you anytime he wants. Colossians 2:15 reminds us that Jesus defeated and disarmed all the powers and authorities that oppose God and His people. At the very Name of Jesus, the demons tremble! Believers should never have to fear their spiritual enemy.

The church has done a poor job of intentionally teaching believers about their authority over the work of the enemy in their lives. Paul taught about this most aggressively in the book of Ephesians. I have heard it said that when seeking spiritual power, look to “G-E-Power-Company.” G=Galatians, E=Ephesians, P=Philippians, and C=Colossians. These are 4 books (right in a row), which are located in the New Testament of the Bible. God wants people to be delivered from the power of Satan and his forces.

We serve a God who is mightier than the struggles we inherit, and bigger than the battles we face. God is full of the desire to forgive, love, and heal the brokenness that rises up between us and Him. God is present in the places where our fears live.  Jonah 2:2 reminds us that “in my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.  From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” And Hebrews 7:25 (NIV) says, “therefore, He (Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  

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Hometown Happenings


Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.


Head Start for Kent County

Apply today! North Kent Head Start a high quality preschool program is taking applications. No cost to families. 3 year old – full day classes. Family support – transportation (in most areas). Nutritious meals and snacks. Child Health and Development screenings. Accommodations for children with disabilities. Families must meet eligibility guidelines. Complete an application on our website www.hs4kc.org or call 616-453-4145. #28,29b

Potluck Picnic, Movie and Sidewalk Sales

July 14,15 : Christmas in July Community Potluck Picnic and Movie in Morley Park: The fun starts Friday, July 14th at  6 pm in Morley Park. This year the Cedar Springs area Chamber of Commerce has decided to add a community potluck/picnic to the Christmas in July movie in Morley Park event. This is a free event where everyone is welcome. Bring the family down & a dish to pass and enjoy dinner and yard games in the park before the movie starts! This year’s Christmas in July movie will be “Arthur Christmas”. Saturday July 15th over 90 businesses & vendors will participate in Christmas in July Sidewalk Sales. #28b

Sing to the Lord

July 16: 2nd Chance will be having gospel hymn sing on Sunday, July 16th at 6 pm. It will be at 2nd Chance School at 810 – 17 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs (corner of 17 Mile and Olin Lakes Rd). Music will be provided by Deb and Larry Eadie and the message shared by Ron Parson. Invite your family and friends. The Sing to the Lord hymn sings will be every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. Sing to the Lord hymn sings will introduce you to 2nd Chance and its vision. The school is in the building stage, which when completed, will teach troubled teens through God and the horse. If you have questions, call 616-293-2150. See you there! #28b

Dinner at the Legion

July 17: American Legion, 80 S. Main St. Cedar Springs, is hosting a Baked Chicken dinner on Monday, July 17th , from 5 – 7 pm. Included will be mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies, salad, roll, dessert and drink. The cost is $9 for adults, children (15 and younger) $4.00. Come and enjoy home cooking. Take out is available. 616-696-9160.  #28

VBS at Ensley Baptist Church

July 17-21: Ensley Baptist Church, 7077 E. 120th St., Sand Lake will be hosting Vacation Bible School, “Camp Kilimanjaro” an epic expedition through Proverbs, July 17 thru 21 from 9 am to 12 noon. Ages: pre-K thru 6th grade. #28

Alan Kazam – Magic Show

July 18: If it’s fun, laughter and unforgettable memories you’re looking for, then come watch Alan Kazam, a professional magician who has been delighting audiences with his unique brand of magic for over 20 years. Presented by the Cedar Springs Community Library on Tuesday, July 18th from 1 to 2 pm at Cedar Springs Middle School, corner Northland Drive and 16 Mile Rd. #28

Celebrate Recovery Tent Meeting

July 18: The weekly (Tuesday at 6:30 pm) meeting fo the nationally recognized program Celebrate Recovery will be a tent meeting outside on Tuesday, July 18th at Hillcrest Community Church, 5993 – 18 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs, MI 49319. Phone 616-696-9333 for more information. #28

Michigan Blood Drive

July 18: A Michigan Blood Drive will be held on July 18th at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church from 12:30 pm until 7 pm. Members of the Cedar Springs Women’s Club will be grilling hot dogs for all those who attempt to donate. Chips and a drink will be included. Summer is a particularly slow number for donors but a high demand for blood. Each donation has the potential to save 3 Michigan lives. The Blood Center thanks all the people that donate at the Cedar Springs blood drive. #28

VBS at Cedar Springs UMC

July 24-27: Come and discover your Super strength with us at “Hero Central!” We’ll have lots of fun – including crafts, games, stories and much more. Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main Street. July 24th to the 27th from 6 to 8 pm. Find registration forms on our website, www.cedarspringsumc.org, outside of the Sanctuary or in the church office. Contact Sally Johnson with any questions at 616-788-8225 or email: sallex58@gmail.com. #28,29b

VBS at Resurrection Lutheran Church

July 24-28: Vacation Bible School at Resurrection Lutheran Church, 180 Northland Drive, Sand Lake will be held July 24th – 28th from 6 to 8 pm. Ages 4 years old to sixth grade (entering). For registration information, please email churchresurrection@yahoo.com or call 616-636-5502. #27-29b

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Hometown Happenings


Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.


God’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs

July 4,11,18,25: Join us for dinner every Tuesday. God’s Kitchen – Cedar Springs welcomes families from Northern Kent County and the surrounding area to a Tuesday Evening Meal. No charge – no registration required!  Served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the St. John Paul II Parish, 3110 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. For more information, call the Church office at 616-696-3904. #26

Family Movie Night “The Shack,” Free movie!

July 8: Based on the bestselling book, “The Shack.” Free Admission, free popcorn, free lemonade and reasonable soft drinks. Showing at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall, Saturday July 8th at 7:00 pm. #26,27b

Southern Gospel Concert at East Nelson UMC

July 8: Internationally known touring group, Keepers of the Faith Quartet, will be at East Nelson United Methodist Church, 9024 – 18 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs on Saturday, July 8th at 6:30 pm. You don’t want to miss this amazing group of singers. Their message is certainly powerful and their music superb. Please come and invite your friends for an evening of inspiration! The concert is free; a love offering will be taken. For more information call 616-696-0661. #26,27p

Cedar Springs Youth Football SIGN-UPS

July 11-27: Flag: 4-7years olds / Rocket: 3rd-6th grades / Middle: 7th-8th grades. Skinner Field: Tues & Thurs 7/11-7/27 5:30pm-7:30pm. Contact: April Victorson (616)890-5869 csyflsecretary@gmail.com. #19-26b

VBS at Hillcrest Community Church

July 17-21: Incredible & Amazing VBS Thrills coming to Hillcrest Community Church, 5994 – 18 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs, July 17 – 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Ages 3 through 5th grade will enjoy exploring God’s Creation. Our Amazement Park theme will culminate with a special carnival fun night on Friday, July 21st at 6:30 pm. You will also want to come on Sunday, July 23rd at 10 am for VBS Sunday. All kids will be singing and sharing. Register online at hillcrestcommunitychurch.blogspot.com or call 616-696-9333. #26

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Why is this happening?


Hillcrest-Church-picPastor Kristi J. Rhodes

Hillcrest Community Church

5994 18 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319

 

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than facts. It’s more important than the past, education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, or what other people think or say or do. It’s more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It’ll make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we’ll embrace for that day. We cannot change our past or the fact that people will act in a certain way. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude I’m convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” 

~Charles R. Swindoll

Just a few months ago, our youngest son, Branden, 27, was diagnosed with a very aggressive, rare form of lymphoma requiring aggressive chemotherapy treatment. A mass the size of a softball invaded his chest pressing on vital organs. His wife was due to deliver their second child almost any day when they got the news. Treatment began immediately. The day before he was to be admitted at Butterworth for his first 5 day round of chemo, his wife was admitted at the same hospital resulting in emergency C-section, giving birth to their daughter. A few hours later, Branden went downstairs to begin treatment for cancer.

Since this journey began (early February), Branden has undergone three surgeries,  a collapsed lung, emergency bedside chest tube insertion, a viral infection, a very serious bacterial infection, as well as being separated from his family every three weeks for a week at a time.

I know there are people who are worse off. That’s not my point. Here’s my point. Long before the first diagnosis, Branden has and continues to praise God. He says this is just a miracle waiting to happen. If anyone has the right to ask, “Why is this happening?” he does. However that question has never crossed his mind. Instead, his question is, “How can I bring glory to God through what is happening?”

He knows God has the power to heal him instantaneously, but says, “If God will be glorified more by me going through this journey, then I’m willing to walk through whatever He needs me to for His Glory!” God’s goodness doesn’t change because our circumstances have.  As people visit him in the hospital, they continually share that they went to bless and minister to him, but instead, he blessed and ministered to them. As this journey continues, so does his peace and trust in God. Whatever the outcome, he wins!

One of his favorite verses for strength is Joshua 1:9 (NIV): Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Whatever you’re facing, remember:  Peace is found in the ability to see God’s presence, perceive God’s power, and focus on God’s plan in spite of the obstacles.

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