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Emphasis Preaching Journal

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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Labels and Names -- John 12:1-8, Philippians 3:4b-14, Isaiah 43:16-21 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Dr. E. Stanley Jones related an incident from his missionary days that illustrates Jesus’ point.
Style and Class -- Jeremiah 2:4-13, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22 - C -- 2022
Stan Wiersma, writing under his pen name “Sietze Buning,” explored the religious roots of being cons
Sooner or Later -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14--23:56 -- David Kalas -- Passion Sunday - C -- 2022
I have fond associations with Palm Sunday.
Of Bedtimes and Discipleship -- Jeremiah 18:1-11, Philemon 1:1-21, Luke 14:25-33, Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 -- David Kalas -- Proper 18 | Ordinary Time 23 - C -- 2022
Our youngest children are twin nine-year-old girls.
Fast Food, Past and Present Tense, Future Indicative -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Frank Ramirez -- Maundy Thursday - C -- 2022
The late science fiction writer Robert A.
Life or Death: Make A Choice -- Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24 - C -- 2022
Choices matter.
How the Cross Changes Everyday Life -- Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9, John 18:1--19:42, Isaiah 52:13--53:12 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Good Friday - C -- 2022
Isaiah 52:13--53:12
From Evil to Grace and Wisdom -- Jeremiah 8:18--9:1, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13, Psalm 79:1-9 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25 - C -- 2022
Jeremiah 8:18--9:1
Life Goes On -- Acts 5:27-32, John 20:19-31, Revelation 1:4-8 -- David Coffin -- Second Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
It is springtime when the flowers start to bloom.
Mature Faith -- Lamentations 1:1-6, Lamentations 3:19-26, 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Luke 17:5-10 -- David Coffin -- Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27 - C -- 2022
All of today’s texts address times along the faith journey where a mature faith is helpful.
Has it dawned on you? -- Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12, Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 -- R. Craig Maccreary -- Epiphany of the Lord - C -- 2022
Note: This installment was originally published in 2007.
Blessing the rich man's proceeds -- Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15, 1 Timothy 6:6-19, Luke 16:19-31 -- Mark J. Molldrem -- Proper 21 | Ordinary Time 26 - C -- 2022
Note: This installment was originally published in 2001.
Starting Over -- Acts 9:1-6 (7-20), Revelation 5:11-14, John 21:1-19 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Third Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
Sometimes the healing of our hurts starts only when we find another song to sing.
The Nature of the Occasion -- Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30 -- David Kalas -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
Review your schedule for the past week or so and consider the variety of gatherings of which you hav
The Triumph of Love -- Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35 -- Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
One of the problems about living in the present is that the only perspective we get on our current t
The Great Things God's Love Does -- Acts 16:9-15, Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5, John 14:23-29, John 5:1-9 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
The great things God’s love does.
Being One Differently -- Acts 16:16-34, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21, John 17:20-26 -- David Coffin -- Seventh Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
The enthusiastic exclamation of Easter Sunday, “He is risen” is a distant echo during the week of th
Judgement and saving grace -- Jeremiah 17:5-10, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26 -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - C -- 2022
Note: This installment was originally published in 2001.
Tumbling towers -- Isaiah 55:1-9, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Luke 13:1-9 -- Timothy B. Cargal -- Third Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Note: This installment was originally published in 2004.
Connected and Ready -- Genesis 11:1-9, Acts 2:1-21, Romans 8:14-17, John 14:8-17 (25-27) -- Wayne Brouwer -- Day of Pentecost - C -- 2022
A noted businessman was in high demand on the speakers’ circuit.
Something to Celebrate -- Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15 -- David Kalas -- Trinity Sunday | 1st Sunday after Pentecost - C -- 2022
Chances are that most of the people in our pews will not know that it’s Trinity Sunday unless we tel
Not On Our Own -- 1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15a, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39, Psalm 42 and 43 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 7 | Ordinary Time 12 - C -- 2022
My guess is that we’ve all got a favorite book about Lincoln. The list is endless, of course.
Embracing Second Place -- 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62, Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 8 | Ordinary Time 13 - C -- 2022
This is a Sunday to consider the theme of discipleship.
Which God is Served? -- Amos 7:7-17, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-37, Psalm 82 -- David Coffin -- Proper 10 | Ordinary Time 15 - C -- 2022
“God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement” Psalm 8
Doing the Right Things for the Right Reasons -- Amos 8:1-12, Colossians 1:15-28, Luke 10:38-42 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Proper 11 | Ordinary Time 16 - C -- 2022
Every parent of young children can identify with this: a little boy was asked his name, and he repli

Communicating God's Love

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Loving God -- Stephen P. McCutchan -- 2011
" 'You should love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all yo
Defusing a time bomb -- Stephen P. McCutchan -- 2010
(Information for this article is drawn with permission from the ToolBox of the Presbytery Pastora
What are you standing for? -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2008
Here's a definition I found a few days ago: "Courage means taking a stand that can get
Your presence shows God's presence -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
June 6, 1960, a week after I finished seminary, my father and my thirty-year-old brother,
Jesus wasn't like the big bad wolf -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
Do you remember the story of "The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf"?
Church hospitality communicates God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City is directly across the street from the
God's Frisbee® dog -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2006
Fresh out of college and bound for seminary, Chris Symes preached in his home church a
It takes tough love to communicate God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2006
The Reverend Danny Cavett -- director of chaplain services at the University of
Safe sanctuaries communicate God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon
Let's imagine you are pastor of a church with an average worship attendance of 150.

Guest column

Emphasis Preaching Journal

The preacher as gracious antagonist -- Terry L. Morgan -- 2008
As a young pastor fresh from seminary in my first call, I preached carefully exegeted, well thought

Illustration

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Sermon Illustrations for New Year's Day (2022) -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Revelation 21:1-6a, Matthew 25:31-46 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- New Year's Day - C -- 2022
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Sermon Illustrations for Christmas 2 (2022) -- Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:(1-9) 10-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday after Christmas - C -- 2022
Jeremiah 31:7-14
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany of the Lord (2022) -- Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Epiphany of the Lord - C -- 2022
Isaiah 60:1-6
Sermon Illustrations for Baptism of Our Lord (2022) -- Isaiah 43:1-7, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - C -- 2022
Isaiah 43:1-7
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 2 | OT 2 (2022) -- Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - C -- 2022
Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13), Psalm 138
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 3 (OT 3) Cycle C (2022) -- Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - C -- 2022
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 4 (OT 4) Cycle C (2022) -- Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - C -- 2022
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 5 (OT 5) Cycle C (2022) -- Luke 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13) -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - C -- 2022
Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13)
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 6 (OT 6) Cycle C (2022) -- Jeremiah 17:5-10, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - C -- 2022
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 7 (OT 7) Cycle C (2022) -- Genesis 45:3-11, 15, 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50, Luke 6:27-38 -- Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas -- Epiphany 7 | Ordinary Time 7 - C -- 2022
Genesis 45:3-11, 15
Sermon Illustrations for Transfiguration Sunday, Cycle C (2022) -- Exodus 34:29-35, 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2, Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a) -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Transfiguration Sunday - C -- 2022
Exodus 34:29-35
Sermon Illustrations for Ash Wednesday (2022) -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Ash Wednesday - C -- 2022
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 1 (2022) -- Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Romans 10:8b-13, Luke 4:1-13 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- First Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 2 (2022) -- Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Philippians 3:17--4:1, Luke 13:31-35 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Genesis 15:1-12,17-18
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 3 (2022) -- Isaiah 55:1-9, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Luke 13:1-9 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Rarmirez, Bill Thomas -- Third Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Isaiah 55:1-9
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 4 (2022) -- Joshua 5:9-12, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Joshua 5:9-12
Sermon Illustrations for Lent 5 (2022) -- Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - C -- 2022
Isaiah 43:16-21 
Sermon Illustrations for Palm/Passion Sunday (2022) -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14--23:56 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Passion Sunday - C -- 2022
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Sermon Illustrations for Maundy Thursday (2022) -- Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Maundy Thursday - C -- 2022
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14
Sermon Illustrations for Good Friday (2022) -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42 -- Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas -- Good Friday - C -- 2022
Isaiah 52:13--53:12
Sermon Illustrations for Easter Day (2022) -- Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, Isaiah 65:17-25 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Easter Day - C -- 2022
Isaiah 65:17-25
Sermon Illustrations for Easter 2 (2022) -- Acts 5:27-32, Revelation 1:4b-8, John 20:19-31, Revelation 1:4-8 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Second Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
Acts 5:27-32
Sermon illustrations for Easter 3 (2022) -- Acts 9:1-6 (7-20), Revelation 5:11-14, John 21:1-19 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)
Sermon illustrations for Easter 4 (2022) -- Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
Acts 9:36-43
Sermon Illustrations for Easter 5 (2022) -- Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35 -- Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2022
Acts 11:1-18

Political Pulpit

Emphasis Preaching Journal

One Out of Two Americans Has Low-Income Status: Why Is There So Much Silence and What to Do About It -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2012
The title is the subject for this column, a topic that the lectionary texts for March, April, and Ma
Moderate Islam needs to take a stand -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2011
When the news broke concerning Juan Williams being fired for his comment on the O'Reiley Factor
What American Christians might do to enhance Muslim life -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
The months of March, April, and May are months of repentance and celebration for Christians.
More on financial responsibility in America -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
The assigned lectionary texts for the fall invite our further attention to our economy, the federal
Are we still fighting wars? How come? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
These months (especially at Christmas) are the season of peace. Yes, we sing and pray for peace.
Getting real about ecology -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
The lessons for the spring are rich in socio-political opportunities for preaching.
Getting maladjusted to business as usual -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of Jesus and Christians as "maladjusted" to certain social dynamics.
Is less government really good for America? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
These months will likely be dominated politically by the upcoming elections and their aftermath.
Expanding political horizons in the local congregation -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2009
Wes has offered important reflections on implementing what we write about in these columns in your p
The market needs some managing -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
When it comes to economics, things haven't changed much for our nation or for the
The curse of special interests -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
I agree with my friend and boss, Wes, that a key issue for the new president, a factor that
Beyond a political diatribe: the age of bling -- Chester Harris -- 2007
Preparing sermons for Lent is a sacred challenge for every preacher that steps before their
We still need affirmative action (as long as there's sin) -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
A significant number of the assigned biblical texts for these summer months are about
The war in Iraq: what's next? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Because we have to submit this column months ahead of the actual publication date, we
Gas prices and the war -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
Although only the "political junkies" in your congregation will be interested in it, in
Somebody's child is still fighting -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
November and December are supposed to be months for giving thanks and extolling
Favoring the rich -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
Most of us know that Jesus and the biblical witnesses were concerned about the plight of
The naked truth about politics and Social Security -- Chester Harris
The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him

Sermon

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Why God has no grandchildren -- John 8:31-36 -- Stan Purdum -- Reformation Sunday - B -- 2006
Children of pastors have their share of strange experiences. As a teenager, I went one day

The Political Pulpit

Emphasis Preaching Journal

The war in Iraq: what's next? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Click here
Our call for freedom -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
Click here
The health-care crisis: -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Recent reports indicate that 47 million Americans were without health insurance in the
Are the candidates really concerned? -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
If there is one issue that confronts every American it is our health. We are dismayed to
The health-care crisis: Are the candidates really concerned? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Recent reports indicate that 47 million Americans were without health insurance in the summer of 200
The health-care crisis: Are the candidates really concerned? -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
If there is one issue that confronts every American it is our health.
Conspicuous consumption and its politics -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Tax time and the season of Lent. There are a lot of crosses for the faithful and the
Justice in a polite church society -- Chester Harris -- 2007
C. S. Lewis' character of pen and ink, Screwtape, the imaginary mentor-uncle, offers the
Beware of virtues -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Of course, Christians should be good citizens! That is just common sense, most
What Christians can do to help our schools -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
In the first weeks of September and October many members in your congregation will
Public education, an oxymoron -- Chester Harris -- 2007
Public education has become an oxymoron. Strange statement, but as I observe what it
Bread and butter issue -- Chester Harris -- 2006
I have heard the pronouncement that citizens of the United States of America must begin
Time for truth and moving beyond conspiracies -- Chester Harris -- 2006
The Political Pulpit is intended to tackle various societal issues from opposite points of
Assaults on the elderly: what politics have to do with it -- Mark Ellingsen
Time magazine predicts that a hot-button issue for the upcoming midterm
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New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Dean Feldmeyer
Thomas Willadsen
Katy Stenta
Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
George Reed
Quantisha Mason-Doll
For October 2, 2022:

CSSPlus

John Jamison
Object: A printed copy of the job description that is included with this week’s message. (Download here.)

* * *

Hello, everyone! (Let them respond.) I have another story for you today. Are you ready? (Let them respond.) Great!

Emphasis Preaching Journal

David Coffin
All of today’s texts address times along the faith journey where a mature faith is helpful. Modern examples include a church which has just completed a major building project. The ribbon cutting celebration is in the past. It is time to make payments to the creditors. Also, there are maintenance and upkeep costs along with knowing the state will be making inspection visits to assure building safety standards remain current.
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Mark Ellingsen
Lamentations 1:1-6; 3:19-26
John Calvin well describes the distress and doubt which this lesson depicts:

...for there is nothing more difficult for men than to preserve their minds in a state of peace and tranquility, undisturbed by any disquieting fears, whilst they are in this world, which is subject to many changes. (Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol.V/1, p. 18)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Alice loved ballet. She'd been given a ballet video for her birthday, and she spent hours watching it. When she'd been attending ballet classes for three weeks, she announced to the assembled family that she was going to be a ballet dancer when she grew up.

Alice's mother and father exchanged meaningful glances. "Ballet means a lot of hard work," warned her father.

StoryShare

John S. Smylie
David O. Bales
Contents
What's Up This Week
"Where Have All the Churches Gone?" by John Smylie
"Caught Not Taught" by John Smylie
"Oh, Mulberries!" by David Bales

Note: This installment was originally published in 2007.

* * * * * * * * *


Where Have All the Churches Gone?
By John Smylie
Lamentations 1:1-6

SermonStudio

David E. Leininger
A couple of years ago, a fascinating book by Mitch Albom hit the bestseller lists, Tuesdays with Morrie. The author had learned that his old teacher was slowly dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, and after an absence of many years, the two reconnected and began to get together every Tuesday. The book shares some of the great lessons that emerged from those weekly conversations. For example:

"Okay, question," I say to Morrie. His bony fingers hold his glasses across his chest, which rises and falls with each labored breath.

"What's the question?" he says.
Carlos Wilton
The little-known book of Lamentations was likely composed in the ashes of Jerusalem, following the Babylonian invasion which carried the leaders of the Jewish community off into exile. It speaks to the concerns of the Jerusalem community for their long-term survival under occupation by a foreign power. While the book's title sounds grim, and its setting is dark, the book is fundamentally life-affirming. It is a testimony to the steadfast love of God that may be discovered through renewed faith, even in troubled times.

Dallas A. Brauninger
1. Text

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" [6] The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
John W. Clarke
In most congregational settings, the name Habakkuk does not bring people to their feet. He is not considered famous biblically speaking, like the more recognized names of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. In point of fact, most people do not know who Habakkuk is or what he did.

Habakkuk was a prophet who undertook to sustain the faith of the nation through one of the most hopeless periods of Hebrew history.
Robert R. Kopp
The Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite movies.

It's about an English teacher named John Keating who returns to his stodgy old alma mater named Welton Academy -- the students call it "Hellton" -- and challenges students to live extraordinary lives.

Mr. Keating tells a few students about a secret organization called The Dead Poets Society.

"The Dead Poets Society," he reveals with eyes aglow, "was a society dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life. That phrase is by Thoreau and was invoked at every meeting."

Special Occasion

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