Church Within Sunday Services

for February 1999

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#124
2-7-99
#125
2-14-99
#126
2-21-99
#127
2-28-99

2-7-99 Sunday Service of Church Within #124
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Today's Service is offered by: Minister Judy Girard

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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Well, Is everyone ready for Valentines Day? Sure... I know that many of you reading this, since it goes to many parts of our world, don't celebrate this particular holiday. But I and many of us here today, being raised in the US of A do, and for many, it is a pretty Special holiday. It's a holiday where it is considered acceptable to Celebrate and Openly Show... Love. There's not enough of those, is there? No, I'm not talking about more opportunities for spending money... Just the Openly Showing Love part. ;-) I've enjoyed Valentines Day since I was a little-squirt, and always wondered... where did it Come from Anyways?

Well... let's see what Minister Judy has for us today...

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Quotes
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(From the NRSV Bible Isaiah 58: 7-10)
Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the Glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

(From NRSV Bible Matthew 5:13-16)
Jesus said to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father."

(Song Titles)
What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love
Love Me and the World is Mine
Love Makes the World Go Round
If I Loved You
Love Me Tender
You Made Me Love You
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
I'm in The Mood For Love
I Love You Best of All
I Love You Truly
Love Will Keep Us Together
You Are Loved
My Love Is Your Love

(From St. John of the Cross)
When the evening of this life comes you will be judged on love

(From St. Valentine)
At the center of all is love

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The Sermon
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        Opening the paper last Sunday you couldn't miss that there's a holiday coming up. One filled with love and romance and relationships. What does that conjure up for you? Cards and candies? Romantic dinners and candlelight? Weekend getaways? Broken hearts? Commercialism? Messages of love? Loneliness? Anger? Feelings of being left out? Another ho-hum holiday sandwiched between Christmas and Easter to get us through until Spring? An expensive, card company fueled celebration of romance?

        I started thinking about Valentine's Day a few weeks ago and became rather curious about its origins. From where did this holiday come? I discovered some interesting things that I didn't know. There is little agreement on the origin of the day--in fact there are at least three versions or myths surrounding the day. And, did you know that in spite of the fact that it is the Feast of St. Valentine, that there are probably at least two and maybe even three people whose lives we celebrate on this day? Actually, two different Catholic priests, both named Valentine and both martyred in the days of the early church seem to be intertwined into the celebration of this day.

        In doing this research I came across a lesser known story which I preferred over the stories of the priest who had fallen in love with the young lady in the jail cell next to his, or the story of birds who mate on February 14 or even the story of a pagan holiday which seems to have had some influence on our current day celebrations.

        The story, or perhaps myth or folklore that I uncovered was one that I had not heard before, but perhaps has the most meaning for us today. It goes something like this: Valentine was a kindly old priest who lived in Rome during the third century. His life was distinguished by his very special love of God. There is a story that says that he was so uplifted by his love of God that he literally came to one day in the top of a tree, being stared at by a starling. The starling began burrowing into Valentine's beard. Whenever Valentine returned to the location, the starling would encircle him and bring him flowers. Still, he enjoyed going to this place to meditate on God's love for him. He spent many hours near this tree, meditating and being visited regularly by the starling. He and the starling became friends and Valentine could beckon for the bird to be his companion anytime he desired.

        One day he was struck with the thought, "What if God's love does not result in action? What good is it?" And with that he decided to help others become as happy and in love with God as he was. He started with a young man who had been rejected from medical school because he was frail and sickly, and he was judged not able to withstand the rigors of medical school. Valentine traveled to the school to see if he could intervene. He was told by the physicians in charge that they would not let this man into the school if, "you carried him here on your shoulders."

        So Valentine took the young lad home with him, nursing him back to health. The following year they returned to the school. The physicians didn't recognize the young man, who came through the doors carrying Valentine on his shoulders! The young man was readmitted to medical school and thrived.

        Now Valentine, in spite of being a priest, knew that some people have callings to such things as having families. And, that sometimes they bump smack into their fear. Valentine knew that with a little love as the intervention he could take care of that fear. Once, Valentine noticed that every Sunday in church was a young man who always stood alone casting shy and rather sideways glances at a young woman who also stood alone. Valentine decided that they needed extra study, so he invited both of them into his rectory to study scripture and share wine and cake. He focused particularly on those passages involving Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Rachel. The young couple began to walk home together. While it took awhile, let's just say that many years later, they named their fifth son Valentine, after the priest who had assisted them in wiping away their fears and teaching them about the power of love.

        Valentine had once been in love himself. The young woman involved had left him for another man and though she married him, she was not at all happy. In fact she was quite empty and lost. Valentine was able to remain her friend and encouraged her to open an orphanage, knowing that one cure for inner pain is to look outward and see and respond to the pain of others. She did so and Valentine was a frequent visitor to the orphanage.

        One day one of the orphans came to Valentine indicating that he wanted to express his love for the foundress of the orphanage. Alas, the young lad didn't know how to write and he no paper or pen. Valentine offered to write the message for the boy. He leaned down and tore apiece of lace off the border of his robe. He called to his friend, the starling, who came and pecked Valentine on the arm. He dabbed a stick in his own blood, and wrote on the lace, "I love you." Thus began the custom of sending Valentine love messages written in red on paper as delicate as a doily.

        Valentine's love and service spread. He taught many children to write love letters. As he lay dying, his last words were these: "At the center of all is love." When he died, people gathered to bid him farewell. Among those present was a doctor who worked with the poor and who risked his life daily working with children afflicted by the plague. The young man, of course, never would have become a doctor had it not been for Valentine.

        On the day the Pope declared Valentine a saint he told the children of Rome that Valentine's life reminds us to love our neighbors. And he told them to make Valentine's feast day one of love declared and shown. Through the years came the custom of marking Valentine's Day with cards and notes and flowers and balloons. Perhaps this year we should think about focusing on our ACTS of love and not just our words of love. Perhaps it is time to renew this holiday and restore to it the true love that perhaps it was meant to exhibit. Perhaps we should add to our own tradition a deed or two that encompasses people from outside our comfort zone; those who are neither family nor friends.

        Don't get me wrong. I enjoy romance as much as the next person. And I am not suggesting that we do away with or ignore that part of this cultural celebration. In fact, we need more celebrations of love. More times to remind us to focus on what is truly important: love. But maybe we should look, too, at the kind of love that Valentine did. A love of God, a love that has as its focus action, a love that calls us to love as we have been loved; to be a light shining for all to see.

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The Prayer
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Loving Parent,
As our Mother and Father, Sister and Brother, Lover and Friend, you show us what love really means. Without your love we are truly lost. Without you as teacher we would not know how to love. You call us to truly love all of our siblings in the way you love us. To love deeply and with conviction glorifies you and brings us more fully into your kingdom. Your light shine, Your love show, Your kingdom come. Amen

God's love and abundant blessings through me to you,

Judy Girard,
Minister
Church Within

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2-14-99 Sunday Service of Church Within #125
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

I would like to wish each of you a very Loving Valentines Day.

To me, Love is...

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Quotes
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(from: the RSV Bible - Corinthians I 13:4-10)
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

(from: a friend named Ham - 1/4/98)
        Love is everything. Nothing else can change your life or give you influence with others that is lasting. When you exist in love and give love warmly to all those around you, then your words are carried into their hearts. You have no fear of them, nor do they have fear of you. There is rather a direct channel from your heart to their heart and your words have impact there.
        Be open to love, exist in love, practice your stillness every day to tap into higher love and everything you do will be fine.


(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-100 Section-4 Para-6)
        You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor's motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being. If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man.

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The Sermon
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Love is caring
- about the Comfort of another...

Love is caring - about the Desires of another...

Love is caring - about the Needs of another...

Love is caring - about the Feelings of another...

Love is caring - about the Dreams of another...

Love is caring - to see the true nature of another...

Love is caring - to show your true self to another...

Love is caring - to share your true self with another...

Love is caring - to accept the uniqueness of another...

Love is caring - enough to be vulnerable to another...

Love is caring - enough to be supportive of another...

Love is caring - enough to allow freedom to another...

Love is caring - enough to expect nothing in return from another...

Love is caring.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        I care.


You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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2-21-99 Sunday Service of Church Within #126
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow
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Welcome by: Pastor Daniel
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

Thank you to Sonny and to Susan for the inspiration which led to today's Sunday Service. I love you guys... ya Know? ;-)

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Quotes
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(from: the RSV Bible - Romans 12:6-10)
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

(from: Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881)
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

(from: James Russell Lowell. 1819-1891)
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never happen.

(from: Olfana 11-17-93)
Cheerfulness comes easily, when one remembers one's destiny is Godward. "Be of Good Cheer" is an encouragement to exist with God in your every effort in life. Cheerfulness can be infectious. It spreads enthusiasm for life from one to another. People need this powerful ingredient in their life. We weep to see those whose lives lack all cheer, or hope of God's Comfort. Reestablish your faith in the power of God's Love to envelop you, and raise your emotional balance, so that you can take, with equanimity, the experiences of life. Exuberance, the Energy of God, life's vital force, flowing through your actions, is testimony of a cheerful nature.

(from: the Tao Te Ching - #44)
Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

(from: The Urantia Papers - Paper-149 Section-5 Para-2)
        "Simon, some persons are naturally more happy than others. Much, very much, depends upon the willingness of man to be led and directed by the Father's spirit which lives within him.

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The Sermon
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        I'll bet you thought today's Sermon was going to be about Cheerfulness or Happiness... din't'cha? Well... yeah... We'll probably get around to them... Eventually.

        But first I kinda' wanted to talk about Angels a little if that's OK with you. You believe in them don't you? Well... maybe you don't, or maybe ya do... whatever. I certainly believe in those Marvelous Celestial Ministers of God.

        What... that is if you believe in them ;-)... do you think MCM's (Angels) actually Do all day? Do they just fly around us all day saving our lives from the life threatening accidents of mortal existence? Surely that (no matter How klutzy or over aggressive we, or others, may be) could not suffice to impose upon ALL their time... ya Think? ;-) Yeah, sure... I've had a few of those times where a fraction of a second was the only difference between life and death... where I KNEW that Someone or someThing had to have been part of the outcome. I Surely remember Thanking God and my Angels at those times... Whew! But there really hasn't been enough of those occurrences to take up too awful much of their time.

        Ya think the rest of the time they are hovering by our ear invoking our conscience to counteract the evil tauntings of an equally devoted little devil... like in the old cartoons? It was cute when I was little and ignorant of life... but... nah. I don't THINK so! So, if you believe they are there of course, what is it that they really Do do in all their spare time?

        Well... it's My opinion that Angels are devoted to our Happiness. (See, I Did get back to it Didn' I? <G>) Not like they try to pour it over us like syrup on a pancake or anything, but more like getting us into situations where we can make personal choices... choices that have the consequence of making us More happy than we are, or Less depending upon which choice we make. Like between the Blue and the Green one... the fast or the faster one... the 'better' or the 'Best' one? Yeah, Right. No, I'm not talkin' about material choices... the temporary transient ego joys. I'm talkin' about Soul Happiness... that Inner Spiritual Joy and satisfaction. Like what you feel when someone Sincerely Appreciates something nice or special you did for them... or how you feel when someone does or says something nice or special for/to you? And the feelings you get when you accomplish a difficult Goal... you know, lasting Happiness sorta' stuff.

        I believe Angels are involved in helping us attain our highest goals and achieving our most lasting Happiness; the things that help to make us better and more loving and loved individuals. Pure Love is Ultimately the Greatest happiness, is it not? Getting it AND Giving it? It sure is what makes Me the Happiest. So anyway... how do they Do it?

        Angels Must talk to each other as well as to us wouldn't you think?... spiritually of course for the most part. ;-) I wonder what kind of stuff they talk about between themselves. I sometimes get this picture of Angel conversation... "Hey! I got one down and discouraged over here. Anyone able to help out?" ...and then another one saying, "Yeah, I think so. Mine's in a pretty Cheerful Loving mood right now. Let's see if we can get them together." You've had those times where "the things of this world" are pressing heavily and oppressively down upon your shoulders haven't you? and then for some inexplicable reason you turn or look up and the Power of a Cheerful, Loving look or word from another just Jolts ya out of your funk? Ever wonder how many times You've been that 'other person' that turns on the light in anothers Soul? I'll bet we could make that part of the Angels job alot easier if we were to try to be more aware of the inner feelings of our brothers and sisters around us all the time... don't ya Think?

        Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "So of cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more it remains." I agree. It is My experience that Cheerfulness begets cheerfulness... and Love begets Love. And I better beget'ing about the task of spending more of my cheerfulness and Love. See you next week.

Oh, but before I go, I just wanted to say one more thing that I've noticed. All of Life is about making Choices. Make the most loving, Godlike choices you know how to, and you will ultimately achieve the Greatest happiness and the most Supernal Satisfaction. And if you make the 'other' kind of choices... well... what would you expect?

Choose Wisely.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Help me to better discern the choices you would make for me and, with total Faith in Your Parental desire for my ultimate Happiness, to make those choices.


You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal
Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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2-28-99 Sunday Service of Church Within #127
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Today's Service is offered by: Pastor Daniel J. Megow

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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome once again to The Church that is Within.

I'm going to start today with a few short quotes from a few of my favorite people…

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Quotes
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(from: "Dragonsong" by Anne McCaffrey © 1976)
Who wills,
Can.
Who tries,
Does.
Who loves,
Lives.

(Quoting: Ralph Waldo Emerson)
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

(Quoting: The Dalai Lama)
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

(Quoting: Albert Einstein)
"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."

(Quoting: Mahatma Gandhi)
My effort should never be to undermine another's faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith.

(Quoting: Mahatma Gandhi)
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

(from: the RSV Bible - Isaiah 30:21)
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

(The Urantia Papers - Paper-148 Section-6 Para-10 – Jesus talking)
"No more shall suffering mortals be denied the comfort of knowing the love of God and understanding the mercy of the Father in heaven. While the speech of God spoken from the whirlwind was a majestic concept for the day of its utterance, you have already learned that the Father does not thus reveal himself, but rather that he speaks within the human heart as a still, small voice, saying, 'This is the way; walk therein.' Do you not comprehend that God dwells within you, that he has become what you are that he may make you what he is!"

(Quoting: Albert Einstein)
When the solution is simple, God is answering.

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The Sermon
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        In truth, we'd all really like to know what God's will is and how to do it better, right? Well... how the heck are we supposed to know what that is? How do we know if what we choose is indeed God's will for us or just our own human desires? If God really expects us to do the right thing, the best thing, then He/She would give us some recognizable kind of personal guidance in how to go about it... wouldn't ya Think?

        So does God talk to each of us and tell us what is best? Ya think 'e doesn't?

        How does one go about discerning the difference between God's voice and one's own? That's a Toughie isn't it? Is it really? I sure Used to think so. But I'm discovering a new way to recognize which is which... at least it works for me anyway when I remember to Use it. ;-)

        So what's this 'new way'? Well.. I should start by telling you that I u'sta think that God's voice was the one that said "Don't do this." or "Better not do That!" I don't think that way any more now though. I'm starting to learn a different way to listen. Every time I sincerely try this process it works, so maybe I'll just share the procedure with you and you can try it for yourself if you want to... OK?

        The next time you have one of those frustrating "God, what the heck should I DO?" things come up... [You shouldn't have to wait too long... they're not exactly Rare are they? ;-)] ...try and still your mind for a moment and ask, "God, what would You have me do in this situation?" Then be very quiet and listen. Usually the very first thought to come to you, if you are being sincere, is God's answer. It is the "still, small voice, saying, 'This is the way..." You'll have to be quick about positively identifying it, because your own ego's thoughts about it will immediately try to drown it out and negate the validity, the truth of it. When you hear... "Yeah, Right!", "Get Real!" or "No WAY That'll work!"... followed by a mired of seemingly logical reasons for why it couldn't Possibly work... then try it. Ego will use Every fear producing reason in it's arsenal to prevent you from doing so, but face it with heroic determination and try it anyways. The harder ego tries to dissuade you from doing it, the more likely is it that it's probably the Right thing to do. The right answer is usually quite simple and undemanding actually... and Always the most Loving. I think old Albert kinda' pegged it when he said: "When the solution is simple, God is answering." God's answer couldn't Possibly be so Simple, could it? Could it? Isn't it?

        Give the procedure a try in your own life experiences. If it doesn't work, you have lost nothing really. If it Does, then you have gained Everything.

        Ghandi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." I believe this is a Truth. I also believe that... You must be the change you wish to see in Yourself.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,
        Help me to listen better and more often, and then to Act as You would have me do so. Thanks! I Know that You'll answer This request.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal
Parent,

The Creator's Infinite Love, through me, to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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