(note:  This is the welcome and info article and it does not change.  Scroll on down for the most recent article addition.)

I believe in the power of truth.  I also believe in the power of freedom.  I am neverendingly impressed at how truth sets us free, and how freedom opens us up to the truth.  Though I have some posts that are personal to me, this is my ministry site.  I post articles about all kinds of things that are of interest to me… and I also find great joy in answering, or at trying to answer, or at least discussing, questions.  Feel free to ask them here.

I am still working on these sites, but the best way to navigate this material is either the tabs at the top of the page – these take you to totally different pages with targeted information.  If you are researching me as a personal therapist, click the Counseling/Therapy tab… if you are a man looking for encouragement, ideas and support in life, click on Phalanx… if you are considering me as a speaker, teacher, pastor, or consultant, that information should be available there.

Most of my work hours are spent serving at FBC’s South Campus in Tyler. Check out the amazing ministry there.

I am also the lead therapist at the Alethia Counseling Center in Tyler, Texas… and I love the team of Counselors we have here, so…

I want to introduce you to our team of counselors at the offices:

Millie Tanner, LPC.  Millie is an LPC, and has been doing work here for about a while already and was with Women of Grace before that.  She is truly realistic, strong and compassionate.  Her experience shows as she does an excellent job and inspires great confidence in her clients.   She is especially gifted at marriage counseling, in my humble (but accurate) opinion. (http://www.tannertherapy.com/)

Zach Herrin, LPC.   Zach is a great counselor and is especially good with engaging with people through the lense of being someone loved deeply by God.  He has a special gift at developing rapport with young men and their families.  I think his masculine and biblically strong style of counseling will connect well with men.  (www.herrincounseling.com)

Keely Burks, LPCI.  Keely is an LPC intern, which means that she has finished her Master’s Degree, and now has to complete 3000 hours of what is essentially a residency under a an LPC supervisor.  She did some of her practicum work here and did a fantastic job, and offers play therapy too! (http://www.keelyburkscounseling.com/)

Amy Waters, LPCI.  Amy is also working on her intern hours… This means she has completed her Masters and has joined us full time!   She is gifted and has close to a decade of experience helping students and families after her years as a Pine Cove Family Camp Conference Director.  She has an amazing talent for seeing as God sees and helping people do the same.  You need to schedule time with her… it is a healthy decision for anyone. ( www.amywaterscounseling.com)

Nancy Mayer, LPC.  Nancy is our newest addition.  Nancy is just opening up multiple hours at our office.  She has many years of experience as a chaplain and as a counselor!  She works with couples, individuals and is especially gifted at working with people struggling with traumatic experiences they have faced or are facing.

If you are interested in scheduling with any of us, call us at 903 561 8955

…If you are more interested in browsing my articles, then your best bet might be the catagories list to the right.  If you are interested in me writing an article on a given topic, you can request it in any comments section… I will try to get to it as soon as I can!

I will continue to post all new articles here as well as on the targeted site, so either option should still give you the chance to find what you are looking for.

Typically, my series, sermons and seminars will be found at:  Talks

Thanks for stopping in… God Bless you and Keep you.


More Information on my specific Counseling

My style of therapy is generally called “eclectic” which really just means I make use of many different styles and techniques of counseling.  I believe that every human life has intrinsic value, including yours.  No amount of pain, guilt, shame, regret, resentment, anger, depression, depravity, or brokenness can change that.  Every person has a story that is worth hearing, no matter how much hurt, love, purpose, abandonment or normality that life includes or lacks.

A big part of why I believe what I just said is that I am a proclaimed follower of Jesus, The Christ, into Life, death, and Life again.  I think life can often feel a lot like a series of life and death patterns.  I believe it is hopeful to know that those are a parable of the larger Epic story.  I believe in a Creator, and I therefore rationally think the most foundational thing in life is to have a right relationship with our Creator.

It seems reasonable to me that it would be impossible to over-estimate philosophically how important it would be for a created thing to know its creator.  After doing decades of research, of the major views on this problem, only Christianity has been able to offer what I consider the most reasonable answers. So, with that understanding, I am a Christian therapist.

However, as a “style” I am not exclusively what is called a “biblical counselor” nor do I offer counseling only for other Christians. Far from it. I agree with the way I was taught: I expose my faith, but am careful not to impose my faith on my clients. It isn’t always an easy integration, but that is my goal. The main way that my faith and philosophy impact my counseling is in regards to truth. I belief in truth and in its power to set us free (John 8:31). I think it is vitally important for everyone to be able to acknowledge the truth about their lives – this point is also made in Orwell’s “1984″ when it is noted that true freedom begins with the freedom to speak the truth.

Until we can say what we know is true, we are still bound. I make use of reality therapy techniques, Gestalt work, psychotherapy, Jungian archetypes, personality theory, paradoxical work, REBT, transactional analysis, and virtually anything else I come across that works and fits within what I believe is true.

I believe that each human being is so complex and unique that no one therapeutic theory covers everyone. Generally, I talk to people for about 50 minutes in the session, but the real work comes in the hours of integration in-between sessions. I encourage people to deal with the past and not ignore it – to speak the truth about their past. This is not about living in the past. Understanding, speaking and accepting the truth about our past is a work of the present.

I also encourage people to face the present and future honestly. Reality therapy becomes vital when dealing with the present. I think that many more people could really benefit from counseling than get it. It takes a certain level of emotional health to be able to risk coming in. Coming to counseling the first time can be pretty tough, so I applaud anyone strong enough to do it, especially those who are able to come in before they are in stage 4 sickness… Counseling isn’t meant to last forever, so come in with some specific goals and you and I will work together to identify and deal with those and any others that arise.

Final words for this section: beware of coming in for counseling when it is storming and the roof is leaking, and then quitting when the rain quits rather than when the roof is repaired.

any questions?

I have been trying to do some research on some of the ancient religions that either share a similar era to early Christianity (like gnosticism and Mithras Mystery Cult) or others that people have caused to be linked to early Christianity (like Krishna).

I have found scholarly work incredibly hard to come by… and original documents nonexistent.   Every person who writes on this (and there are thousands online) seem to quite literally copy and paste one another without any citation at all.  As a researcher, I am dubious of this, though I admit there are probably times I make that same mistake.

I am still working on the Krishna page, but I think I have found a serious, factual and incredibly scholarly (if that is an appropriate adjective for scholarly) article about Mithras.  Anyone interested in the Roman Mithras Mystery Cult should go and check out this link:    http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/display.php?page=main

The author also has a page with comments on the connections of Jesus Christ and Mithras. if that is of particular interest to anyone.


The Story of Krishna

Please, if there is a Hindu scholar out there who reads this (or if you know one you can forward it to), I need to know if this is accurate.  I want it to be super accurate.  This is taken from various websites and Hindu literature, with Wikipedia as my Cliff’s Notes.   Thank you for feedback.

Krishna – 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, portrayed as an infant or young boy playing a flute, or a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero and a supreme being.

His name means “black” or “all attractive” and he is typically portrayed as black or blue in color.   He is often called “the protector of cows”.   Often wears a yellow silk robe (dhoti) and a peacock feather headpiece.   He was a diving herdsmen of cows.  He is often portrayed surrounded by milkmaids, defeating a serpent, or lifting a hill – or other events of his childhood… or other times standing on one foot dancing.

Other times he is represented as a epic warrior God – with multiple arms or heads.  Often he is pictured with his consort, Radha.  Sometimes he is seem worshiping a small child, which is the child version of himself – often with butter in his hands.

He is born to his father Devaki (his name means “good act”) and mother Vasudev, (her name means “good thoughts”).   He was their 8th son.   Kamsa, Krishna’s demon uncle, threw the parents into prison… Kamsa was confused bc the prophecy of the 8th son of this couple would destroy him.   To fool Kamsa,  Devaki’s 7th pregnancy was transferred to another person secretly.  Kamsa was later killed by Krishnu

Krishna also killed another demon who was disguised as a wetnurse.  He tamed the evil serpent Kaliya, who was poisoning the water the cattle drank from.

Later, He married 8 queens altogether.  Then later married 16,000 (or 16100) maidens who were  held captive by another demon… but released them all.

I have to admit that I am a little confused by the next stage of his life.  There is a very complex war involving many different spiritual creatures and a lot of expression of Krishna as a great divine being and a deadly and unstoppable warrior!  At the end of the war, there is a curse that Krishna’s rule would end 36 years later.

Vishnu is shot accidentally in the foot by a hunter while he is meditating under a tree.  He died and ascended back to his eternal abode as a god.

I and many of the counselors from Alethia Counseling Center will be speaking… and more importantly… Ginger Legg will be speaking at this event!  Sign up now!

Influence Flyer


This is an amazing event for any Christian – it is a great chance to engage with the foundation of the Communion event that is so important to us as Jesus followers… Anyone invited!seder_meal_final


These are just some quick thoughts about the 10 Commandments

The Ten Commandments

                  The Ten Commandments are rules created by God and directly transferred by Him for the purpose of guiding His people, a society, to survive and thrive as most other societies, even larger and more powerful ones, faded into the History books.  These laws are useful for guiding individual behavior, and even require it – but the purpose of them was not to create a great life for any individual, but for the race-the society-the people as a whole.  Following these rules means restricting one’s own freedom of choice for the sake of the group.  I believe that they can be applied to any group for good result, like a country, a city, a church, a youth group, or a family.  Few people know them, less people understand them, and no one always follows them.  However, if in general, a society obeys and cherishes them, they will probably thrive as a people, don’t you think?  Keep in mind that we are not under the condemnation of this law if we are believers… we are free in the grace found in the work of Christ.  At the same time, I think we can learn a great deal about God by studying these ten laws.  Here is just a little bit of that from my perspective.

I.               Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

The first part of this command is actually “I am the Lord your God.”  Someone has to make the rules – it would not be fair or just for it to be another flawed human being who would certainly create rules to be in their own favor, or in such a way that would exempt them from obedience.  So, to begin, this society must recognize and agree that God is God, that He is the top God, and is the only God (capital G).  Since there are no other gods ahead of Him in authority, then no other god’s rules are above His either, and certainly no man’s.  In other words, if another god shows up with ten rules, they are to be ignored next to His.  To be successful, a society must decide its standard for deciding right from wrong – how does one make moral decisions?  God starts out by telling us that the standard must be Himself, bc no one else is God and so no one else’s opinions matter.

II.             Thou shalt have no idols.

This command is about confusing the Creator with the creation.  We are part of that creation, as are the animals, the sun, the angels, etc.  We should not worship anything that He created whether ourselves or anything that we adapt of His creations.  We are special as God’s direct creation, but we are not equal with Him, nor is anything else.  In other words, in Commandment I, God says “There is no one above me.”  In Commandment II He says “There is no one and nothing equal with me either!”  According to this commandment, we must be very careful not to give away that which is God’s.  Since all glory and worship are God’s, He may get jealous if we give it to someone or something else; this has the feel of an unfaithful love affair.

Incidentally, 3-4 generations might have also been a reference to a “household” since that is generally lived in the typical Jewish household.

III.  Do not Misuse God’s Name

Again, a reference to “Who” God is.  He is special, He is different.  Even His Name must be handled with respect and care.  Even just His Name is so special and powerful that we, as mere humans, must not think that we can do whatever we want with it.  This surely refers to “Oh My God” and “Jesus H Christ,” etc.  God’s Name is more special than this.  However, another possible application is the idea of wrong behavior in His Name – see Col 3:17.  Do not misuse God’s Name… or even use it at all without reason. Look out for vanity, boredom, and poor habits as a vain or useless reason for using His Name.

Consider the habit of people who love to “swear to God” that something will happen.  It is a common instruction from God that we avoid this!  We find it over and over in the law, and even in Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:30-37).  God’s  name is not some simple word or concept – He is real, and taking His name is certainly no less serious than using our own names!

IV.  Remember the Sabbath Day

Keep it “Holy.” – sanctified, different, set apart.  The Sabbath should be different – God then commands specifically one way that it should be different:  namely the increase of rest and the decrease of labor.  Let yourself and your family and you servants and even your animals off the hook.  Note, however, how the other 6 days are to be spent.  This seems to be no less of a command – work six days – do your work then.  Now, why?  God does not always deem it necessary to give us a reason for His rules after #1 – bc if #1 is true, then there is no reason to explain the others.  However, He does explain this one – Bc it follows the example God set and it reminds us every week who He is, and reminds us what He did and helps us to take time to focus on Him every week.  If God thought rest was a good idea for Himself, then we probably should too.  Think, though of the ramifications of this commandment in regards to God’s character!  God has claimed one day as His own day – that we will set it apart and make it Holy.  Does He tell us to kill His enemies on this day, or worship Him, or give Him all of our money we make working this day?  NO – He tells us to rest.  I have read recently that the God of the Old Testament asked “What can you do for Me?” but in the New Testament His question is :”What can I do for you?”  This commandment seems to make this idea ludicrous.  How does it serve God for us to have a day off?  Realize that humans would never have invented the weekend, much less the vacation and jubilee – God did!  In fact, the further a nation drifts from God, the less possible will vacations, weekends, etc. be, especially for those who need it most – the ones God is protecting with this law.  What kind of God invents a weekend?

*Now we begin a whole new section of commandments – the first ones were about God.  These next six are about us and how we treat one another.  Obviously, it must be established first who God is in order to justify His giving laws to us.   We now know the foundation for right and wrong – now He begins to tell us how to relate to one another in this society He is designing.

V.   Honor your father and mother…

The command with a promise.

Five begins the section about horizontal relationships – from one human being to another.  The first one is about the central unit of God’s culture – the family.  As with the setup of God’s authority – God is in charge, so he makes the rules, God is setting up an order of authority in the family here – honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land.  An important question is:  whose days?  Is this a promise for individual long life if you honor your parents?  I think not.  This is a society-wide promise – so that your people’s days in the land of promise will be long.  Naturally, if everyone honors their parents than the important teachings, morals, and standards (like these 10 rules) will be successfully passed down from generation to generation – from honored parent to honoring child.  If not, then the social structure will dissolve, God’s rule will be lost, and the people will not be long in the land.  Note that in the bible, God does not re-reveal the 10 Commandments to each generation of Israelites.  He expects them to be passed down to children and for children to listen and obey.

Honor is about motivation.  “Do as they would do,”  “hold to what they hold to,” “Do it as God commanded them to do.”  Honor God by honoring them (and therefore honor them by honoring God.)  Follow the Spirit of their right desires.  We can obey and still dishonor.  Of course, there is a reason that this is not the first commandment.  Even parental authority comes from God and if a parent’s command would be in contrast with God’s, then the only honorable thing to do would be to disobey.

VI.  You shall not murder.

All the other commands in regard to other men are based, by necessity, on this one.  God begins these general, all people commands, with the most basic form of respect:  to respect another’s life.  Life is a precious commodity for any society.  If life is taken, or can be taken unjustly, selfishly, or out of emotional outburst, the society will obviously begin to collapse.  Fear, militant and survival mentalities would begin to the basis of life.  as Maslow pointed out, if one’s life is in jeopardy, then service, love, work, worship, and other ideals that societies need, cease.  Life is the first and most foundational right, or possession that must be respected in any society and by that society.

VII.  No adultery.

There are a series of commands here that are short and simple with no room or apparent need  for discussion from God.  God seems to feel no compunction to explain Himself or give any reasons for these commands (and of course, He doesn’t have to).  However, this commandment tells us about God’s character again.  He apparently sees marriage vows as sacred as life itself.  He also knows, b/c He created it, that sex is special to human beings – no matter what we try to convince ourselves.  Rules about sex are necessary for our society to survive.  By definition, adultery is sex between two people, at least one of whom is married to someone else.

It is interesting to me to note that these ten areas of life are important to God, and He believes they are important to us as well.  There must be rules about family authority structures, about life, about sex and marriage, and about personal possessions.  Although adultery is the only sexual sin expressly forbidden in the 10 Commandments, obviously the most damaging sexual sin to a society (sin, betrayal of more than a small number of people, breaking an oath made before men and God)  However, it may be important to take a second and note other sexual sins found in scripture:  Fornication – sex before marriage; immorality – any misuse of sex; impurity – a state of sexual rebellion or apathy; homosexuality – sexual behavior with a member of the same sex; and lust – wishing for an opportunity to be involved sexually with someone other than your mate, just to name a few.  However, adultery is the one talked about here – adultery breaks down the foundational piece of God’s societal structure – the family.

Number VIII:  No stealing.

Apparently, according to God, we have the right to personal property (or at least the Hebrews did).  This may be a concession by God, but I don’t know why it would have to be.  It seems rather obvious that it is vitally important for individuals to be able to keep what they have worked for  – what is theirs to create or destroy , keep, sell, buy, or ignore.  If individuals (as with life) feel that their property is threatened, how will they react?  Locks, bars, guns, dogs, “the club,” removable stereo systems, alarm systems, and the list goes on.  Paranoia, fear, mistrust, passwords, and encryption.  Do I stop and help that person on the road?  Maybe they are waiting to carjack me!  How much time and money do we spend on locking and unlocking various aspects of our lives?  How much of these precious resources could be used elsewhere to help others?  Society fails in the face of this total disrespect of another’s property – rather it is music, software, taxes, money or jewelry.  Society begins to thrive when all members can depend on one another to respect their right to their “stuff.”  PS – it is an indictment on a society when a poor person needs to steal to get basic needs met.

Number IX:  Do not bear a false witness.

In order to see the importance of this commandment for any society, ask yourself one question:  How much faith do you have in the American legal system?  How likely is true justice to be found there?  How does it affect a culture for the people to undermine the legal process with false testimonies?  Each person that does breaks a law that is vital.  Without this simple truth, downtrodden people begin to be mistreated, only the majority can win, each person serves their best interest, and judges and juries have to sort through the question of who is telling the truth, not who is guilty in this situation.  Also, bearing a false witness is about speaking something that you know not to be true regarding another person or event or item.  This of course, disrupts a community’s sense of trust in one another and soon you have to take your car to 2 mechanics just to see if they are both telling the truth.  Sadly, the price tags get reversed as the more trusting, honest, simple people and the pure of heart are the ones most often taken advantage of when false witness abounds.  This must anger the heart of a just God.

Number X   Do not covet…

Coveting – the only commandment that focuses only on your thoughts and feelings rather than your actions (aside from perhaps the first couple).  Again, we have to examine this from a perspective of: what purpose does this serve in a community?  How can my thoughts disrupt and ruin a society?  According to the 10th commandment, we should not even basically desire the items of 6,7 and 8.  This commandment is meant to stop the competitive me vs you mentality to prevalent today.  This mindset of competition creates a gluttony based society that would not reflect God’s values.  “Staying ahead of the Jones’s” is a dangerous mentality that creates a society of debt and mass spending.  Especially when this desire for more leads one to seek another’s downfall, it is dangerous.  the assumption is that if I get your wife, you lose her.  If I get your ox, you lose it.  Only one of us can have it and I want it; you are out of luck.  God seems to desire harmony and love among His people; we can learn to be just as happy and pleased that another was blessed as if we had received the blessing ourselves.  Perhaps we should rejoice that our neighbor has a great wife or an awesome car, uh, ox, or a great job or a larger church congregation.  Perhaps this command is also about fighting the temptation at a place where, even if we do fail, we do not actually hurt our neighbor.  If I struggle at the point of desiring his stuff, than I am less likely to be actually planning how to get my hands on it. We must learn to be content with that which God has seem fit to place in our hands and assume He knows what He is doing.

We are back on (we started tonight but I forgot to get the word out)…

Wed nights from now through May 7th. Dinner is at 5:30pm… teaching for men only is at 6:30. We are looking at some of the most fantastic men of the Bible, in epic detail.

“Did they tell you stories about the saints of old?”

On being a dad

I have given this a lot of thought for years and especially this last year.  One of the daughters in my life has given me the opportunity to think more deeply about these issues than I think I ever would have otherwise. So, at least I know where I stand right now.  I apologize that it is a little rambling in nature, but I do not usually write with a stream-of-consciousness.  I am here.  If I kept a journal, I bet it would sound like this.

A dad has one task.  Only one fundamental job.

It is his job to represent, to the greatest of his abilities and given all of his limitations, the Paternal dad traits of Abba God.

This is a Spiritual dad.

This is what a dad is.

Anything else is just a modification word to describe the location, source, or something else that is also true… but these descriptors do not make someone a good dad.  They are meaningless without being the spiritual dad.  Being “only” a spiritual dad (and doing it well) is what it means to be a dad.

If a dad-person in our lives does this well, he is a good father/dad.  If he does this poorly, then he is a bad one, because this, in the end, is the final judgment.  This is the measuring stick.  All of us are limited in our ability to pull this off, and circumstances can make it nearly impossible to do it at all, but this heart is the standard.

Something that exists for a second is not what defines us.  It can describe us, but it cannot be a definer.  Compared to eternity, our time is too short to define us.   I am also coming to the understanding that without an eternal mindset, it may be impossible to grasp this.

I may be a biological dad, but someday that will not define me as a dad.  I am a foster dad but someday I will not be defined by that.  I am an adoptive dad, but that does not define me.   Mentor-dad, friend-dad… I am not even sure how many descriptors there would be.  These are wonderful and bless-ed descriptions and I love an embrace them all… but in the end, they are just descriptors.  “Dad” means “Spiritual Dad”.  In a perfect understanding, I think “Spiritual Dad” is redundant.

Those are only eternal because they are reflections of Abba – because they have a spiritual aspect to them.  They were eternal concepts long from before I showed up.  See? They are just modifiers of the Spiritual dad… spiritual dad is what dad is.

If I am seeking to be a good representation of The Abba Father, then I am striving to be a good dad.  The measure of how good a foster dad I am is based on the task of representing The Father.  Biological, mentoring, etc… it is the same.

A type of Spiritual dad is the bio dad.  Another one is the adoptive dad.  Yet another one is a foster dad.  There is no such thing as a “real” dad beyond a spiritual dad – that is what a real dad is, because in the essential sense, there is no dad on Earth (Matthew 23:9).  If the only True Father is the Abba of scripture, then all of us are miniatures that are nearer or farther from the real one.

We all need, in the tiny sense, thousands of dads.  We need policemen, mechanics, pastors, teachers and so many others to, in their few minutes or seconds of interaction, to represent God to us… To treat us with respect and care and strength.

We also need a few people to fill in the gaps of representing the Father/God too.  Even though I have a good biological dad, no man could possibly fill in all of the paint-by-numbers that God’s dad traits that exist.  It is great if our biological, adoptive dad, etc… is also one of our spiritual dads, but he may not be.  Even if he is, we need many others to fill in those gaps that he leaves.

This can be scary for people for whom any dad/father/paternal reference is intuitively dangerous, unsafe, and/or abusive.  Our intuition of the Heavenly Father will likely be our Earthly dad – the one who raised us.  If he was abusive, we intuit that God is a monster; if he as neglectful or abandoned us, we intuit that God is far off and unemotional… weak, tyrannical, cold… etc.

I was able to name a bunch very quickly who have filled in many of these gaps.  Some of these men only colored in one or two colors – others helped with a lot of them.  These men have been dads in my life – representing (a couple of them without meaning to, since they were likely not believers) some aspect of God’s paternal traits.  Relatives, coaches, teachers, pastors, ministers… the list was impressive to me.  I might even list them somewhere for posterity’s sake.

Also, we never outgrow the role of  spiritual dads, aka “dads”, in our lives.  Dads can claim, approve, provide, challenge, and a lot more things, but they do so in the hopes of God’s best in our lives.   I try to do this in such a way that it points people to the Abba.  In the end, all of us as mortal men are poor representations, and so our greatest joy is to hear that our children are walking in the truth. (3 John 4).

Again, sorry for the rambling nature of this article.  I hope it is an encouragement to dads out there – no matter what the modifier is for you… and I would not stress over the modifiers too much.  They are temporal and even mercurial.  Sons and daughters, look to the Abba Father for the truth and eternal picture and thank Him for the good fathers (and mothers) in your lives…and put aside the empty ways of life handed down by the poor fathers (and mothers) in preference for HIM.


Thanks to Mike Legg, Holland Legg, Brother Pete, Richard Suggs, Richard Hawthorne, Kent Pate, Neil McClendon, John Dowdy, Jeff, Coach Fash, Dr. Bourbon, Dr. Lee, Dr. Yaunt, Dr. Floyd, Peter Spear, Lanny Tanton, Newt Farrar, Bobby Hicks and others (I am not even going to try to include speakers and authors and I will still be leaving people out) for coloring in aspects of The Abba for me.  I am blessed to have so many good representations of at least a trait or two of God… and typically many more traits.  You have pointed me to Him.  I look forward to risking with more as I find them.


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