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EP 246 – Redeeming Your Time with Jordan Raynor

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EP 246 - Redeeming Your Time with Jordan Raynor
In this episode, we are joined by Jordan Raynor, author of ‘Redeeming Your Time.‘ We dive into why Raynor wrote the book, emphasizing its unique Christian approach to time management and productivity.
Raynor discusses how the Gospel provides a different foundation for these topics, highlighting the importance of learning from Jesus Christ’s example.
JimBo shares personal experiences on how the book has transformed his ministry and family life, focusing on being present and purposeful. The episode also offers practical steps for pastors to improve their time management, including commitment tracking systems and managing digital distractions. Raynor concludes by emphasizing the significance of time stewardship as a biblical command.
00:00 Introduction and Special Guest Announcement
00:41 Why Write ‘Redeeming Your Time’?
01:36 The Gospel’s Approach to Time Management
04:00 Personal Struggles with Time Management
07:02 Defining Productivity in Ministry
14:16 Commitment Tracking System
21:05 Practical Tips for Managing Distractions
26:33 Conclusion and Prayer

[00:00:00] JimBo Stewart: Here we are back at it again, back at the bootcamp. Hope you’re ready for the next episode today. My special guest is an author of one of my favorite books, one of my most recommended books, and has become a friend. I would say at a distance we live in the same state, but we very,

[00:00:15] Jordan Raynor: Yeah, come on

[00:00:17] JimBo Stewart: not that much of a distance, but, often our connections are through technology and at a distance, so welcome to the bootcamp.

Jordan Rainer.

[00:00:24] Jordan Raynor: Jimbo. I love hanging out with Jimbo Stewart. Let’s go.

[00:00:27] JimBo Stewart: Man, I’m excited to have you here on the bootcamp. You have authored a number of books and, man, they’re all great, but there’s one in particular, in my field that I seem to be pulling off the shelf and handing to somebody on just a regular basis. And, that’s redeeming your time. talk to us just a little bit about why you chose to write that book.

[00:00:49] Jordan Raynor: Well, there had to be a compelling reason why Jimbo, because right now there are more than 60, 000 time management books on Amazon. So goodness gracious, there had to be a really compelling why. Here’s why I wrote it. Two reasons. Number one, I’ve read pretty much every bestselling time management book on the planet over the course of my 15 years as an entrepreneur.

And, They all essentially have what I would call a workspace productivity message. They say, Hey, Hey, busy pastor, busy executive, you’re feeling swamped and overwhelmed by my book. Follow my system. And Oh, by the way, you got to do it all. You got to do it right away and you got to do it perfectly. And then I promise you’re going to find peace, right?

Like, yeah, we know. How that movie ends. It doesn’t work out so well. And I think as Christians, man, the gospel just gives us a totally different foundation to approach time management and productivity. We don’t dismiss it because by God’s common grace, we have a lot to learn from Christians and non Christians alike on this topic, but we don’t do time management exercises you in a wild goose chase to find peace.

We do them as a worshipful response to the peace that is secure through Christ alone. And I’d never read a book. I’d read few books. I just say that. They really had that message. My buddy, Matt Perman, what’s best next, I think did a great job of championing that message. So that was the first reason why I wrote this.

The second reason though, is that Jimbo, I had never read a book that accounted For how the author of time managed his time in the person of Jesus Christ, which boggles my mind because, oh, by the way, Christian or not, I think it’s pretty hard to dispute that Jesus of Nazareth was the most productive human being to ever walk the earth.

And we, you know, we come to the gospels for their theology. As we should, we come to them to learn about the ethic and way of Jesus as we should, but we can forget that they are also biographies of the life of Jesus. We’re not in the dark about how Jesus stewarded a 24 hour day. And no, the gospels don’t show Jesus with the to do list or a smartwatch, but they do show him dealing with distractions at work.

I like one time a guy literally dropped through the roof over Jesus’s head as he was preaching. Right? Unless that’s happened to you. You’re not more distracted than Jesus was. They show him dealing with distractions. They show him fighting for solitude. They show him seeking to be busy. Without being hurried.

In other words, the gospel showed Jesus dealing with the exact same time management challenges that you and I face today. And so how arrogant would we be not to look to the gospels for wisdom here? And so that’s what redeeming your time is, man. As you know, it’s seven. I believe timeless time management principles from the gospel biographies that I’ve been mapped to 32 practices that do not have their rooting in scripture, right?

They are one guy’s opinions hand raised as to how to live out those biblical principles in our modern context.

[00:04:00] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think that’s so important to understand the reason that we would do this, the reason we would even focus on time management. I’ll be honest with you, man. Early in my journey of ministry, I was absolutely the worst at this. I remember as a youth pastor early on the, uh, associate or executive pastor of our church coming to me and asking for the six month calendar for youth ministry for the next six months.

And I remember that blow in my mind thinking like, I’m not Nostradamus. How am I going to tell you what’s going to happen over the next six months? Much less a budget that goes along with that.

[00:04:33] Jordan Raynor: Said every youth pastor ever PS, by the way, you’re not alone here.

[00:04:38] JimBo Stewart: And then later when I first started replanting the, our mother church, the executive pastor there gave me a copy of what’s best next. And it was definitely in a, like, you need, need to read this Jimbo. And to be honest, I didn’t give it a fair shake because I didn’t want to read it. And I think I listened to it on like two times speed on Audible and didn’t apply anything.

that it, that, that came with it at all. and so I, I went most of my ministry just really kind of being reactive, going fine by the seat of my pants. and man, I, I found myself unbelievably overwhelmed and I came across. this book because I was listening to the podcast Dad Tired and, uh, cause I was a tired dad.

and so I’m listening to Dad Tired and it convicted me and I said, okay, this is an area of my life that needs self control that needs to be submitted to the Lord. And so, I read through the book, and at first I was like, man, this is a lot, a lot of stuff, and so I, I decided, and here’s what I recommend to people now, when I talk to pastors, I will recommend to them, read through the entire book.

and then once you have kind of the whole picture in your mind, now come back and let’s go one chapter at a time and just, just pick the principles that most apply to where you’re at. Don’t try to apply everything. Pick one or two out of each chapter and go through it like that. And I have seen it not only change my ministry, but several others.

So thank you for taking the

[00:06:16] Jordan Raynor: Oh, my gosh. I love hearing that so much. And by the way, you can never say that as an author on a podcast of, hey, read the book twice on the front end. But like with trusted friends, that’s exactly how I recommend they do it, man. I love that you do that. You know, I think, you mentioned Matt Perman.

What’s best next. That was really kind in his endorsement. The book was just basically, he basically said like, Hey, this is the last time management book you ever need to read, right? Like Jordan finally connected all the pieces of the puzzle, which is great, but it’s also a lot as you point out Jimbo, right?

So I recommend people go through it slowly. And if you read the Amazon reviews, people read this thing over and over and over again. Praise God.

[00:06:55] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, it’s not something you can do just in one reading or do like I did what’s best next read it on listen to it on two times speed and then you’re done. so for clarity, you said Jesus was the most productive person to ever walk the earth. And I would agree with you.

I think it’s important for this conversation to define what you mean when you say productivity because, you know, pastors. we love to, we love to dig into the theological nuance and we want to push back on anything that smells like it’s overly corporate, overly businessy. and on the flip side, I also know a lot of pastors that are absolute workaholics and are addicted to how they define productivity.

So when you say productivity, what is it that you mean?

[00:07:42] Jordan Raynor: I’m talking about productivity in the eternal scheme of things, right? Like, listen, like on the surface, Jesus life didn’t look all that productive, prior to even the Ascension, you know, you, you could argue, right? This guy was killed by the Romans life cut short at the age of 33, right?

So by the world standards, not super productive, but the grand scheme of things, obviously we know the rest of it, but I would even argue that secular people. We’ll look at the life of Jesus and say, Oh, that was really productive from a number standpoint, right? A third of the world follows his teachings 2000 years after his death, right?

Time magazine has called him one of the most, the most influential person in the last two millennia. So I think the world has one definition of productivity that they can apply to the life of Jesus, which is why so many people have gifted this book to nonbelievers. But what I’m talking about is productive in the eternal life.

Sense, right? I’m not talking about productivity in terms of getting a big raise, uh, you know, getting to the next tranche in your career. Although those may be important things to accomplish significant things of eternal significance, right? But what I’m talking about is redeeming the time and stewarding them for eternal things rather than temporal things.

That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about productivity. you know, the first principle of the book is start with the word and listen, if your only goal is to grow your church, grow your business, blah, blah, whatever. It’s tough to make a case for spending time in the word if we could be like crass and honest.

Right. But if I want to redeem my time towards eternal things and things that’ll last, I should probably know what’s on God’s heart for eternity. Right. That’s pretty non negotiable.

[00:09:28] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think that’s such an important place to start in the book, and I appreciate that you start there, even for pastors. And I’ll tell pastors, don’t skip over that first chapter, because here’s what I have observed, Jordan, is I’ve had conversations, like one on one conversations with I think at this point 15 pastors that I’ve known personally that have disqualified themselves from ministry due to a moral failure of one sort or another.

And whenever that happens to someone I know, I try to meet with them. Mainly, I just want to encourage them. I just, I don’t, I don’t want to gossip. I’m not here to beat up on you. That’s not my role. I want to listen, and I want to love you. but I do tell them, I do have a personal agenda, and I want to learn from you.

I want to learn what, what did you do, not, not what did you do when you got fired. Not, I don’t care about, I’m not asking about, I don’t want to know the details of that. But what were your patterns of behavior that left you open to that thing happening? And every single time. Without fail, they will say in some version that they only read God’s word for the purpose of writing a sermon or writing a Bible study lesson or just for work.

It just became a part of work and it wasn’t food and nourishment for their souls. And, and so I think if nothing else, pastor read chapter one and, and stop there. Until, until you have, you don’t even have to read chapter one, you know what a quiet time is, you know what it means to study God’s word and to start there.

And so I never want to assume that a pastor has healthy biblical rhythms in their life of being in God’s word for the nourishment of their

[00:11:12] Jordan Raynor: Yeah, man. Can I just be real here? Like this is a challenge for me. So, you know, my story, I spent 10 years full time as a tech startup CEO. The last five years, I’ve been spending most of my time creating content for the church. And gosh, this is the chief occupational hazard, right?

[00:11:30] JimBo Stewart: Mm.

[00:11:30] Jordan Raynor: me, so if you read the book, you’ll see what my, quiet time practice look like when I wrote the book.

And, listen, that’s changed over time because I’m finding that if I don’t regularly change my Bible study habits, I lose my personal awe

[00:11:54] JimBo Stewart: Mm.

[00:11:55] Jordan Raynor: at God in his work.

[00:11:57] JimBo Stewart: Yeah.

[00:11:57] Jordan Raynor: I mean every three months I’m doing something different a lot of times I’m coming back to the practice I talked about in the book, which is basically Martin Luther’s method of Bible study, right?

But man, I got to change that thing up because I need the gospel every day not just for my salvation I need it as my functional salvation because if I’m not doing that nothing else I may be productive by the world standards, but I’m not gonna be productive by God’s

[00:12:20] JimBo Stewart: Okay, so productivity, but like a good, Southern Baptist pastor, you gave us three points that start with the letter P. and so productive, present and purposeful, were really the three categories that you aim at. for me, my productivity has dramatically increased.

by going through this book dramatically, like I would, I would easily say five times, 5X productivity, but my favorite benefit that I’ve gotten from this is my ability to just be present with my

[00:12:53] Jordan Raynor: Come on now.

[00:12:54] JimBo Stewart: so a couple of episodes ago on our podcast, I, I decided to be brave enough. Jordan to have my kids

[00:13:00] Jordan Raynor: Yes

[00:13:01] JimBo Stewart: and, and so I have my wife and my kids came on the podcast and it was unfiltered.

It was honest, good conversation about what it means to, what it looks like to grow up in a replant because my kids have been in that for the last 10 years. My oldest is 17. This is pretty much all they know at this point. And one of the things they talk about, more even off. the mic than they did on the mic was how for a long time I was not mentally present when I came home as a pastor.

I was still checking emails. I was still answering phone calls. I was still constantly, if I, even if I was there and I’m sitting there and my phone’s not in my hand, my brain’s not fully engaged. And, Although now in my role at NAMM, I travel a ton. I am always on the road. I’m always out of town. They said, we get you now more than we ever did when you didn’t travel.

And they, they don’t know that it’s because of this book, but they do know that there’s a difference. And, that now when I’m home, I’m a home and I am present

[00:14:09] Jordan Raynor: Let me ask

you this. I’m going to flip them. I’m going to flip the mic for a second. Which practice has been most helpful to you to cultivate that?

[00:14:16] JimBo Stewart: I think the biggest one for me is having the commitment tracking system because it’s not, I’m not trying to hold on to the open loops in my head. I don’t have to worry about if I don’t, if I got to remember, I got to remember to take care of this. I got to remember if I forget this, then it’s going to be a big deal.

And, you know, I’d have it scribbled on some journal somewhere, but. Not having it in a way where I could really keep track of it. So just being able to, and I would say the combination of commitment tracking system and my, to be honest, my least favorite part of this entire process, the daily review. I, I hate doing daily reviews.

[00:14:54] Jordan Raynor: they’re hard. Yeah.

[00:14:57] JimBo Stewart: that’s what has saved me is End of the day looking at my list looking at my commitment tracking system and going Okay, i’m good. I’m good to clock out and check out I don’t I don’t have to try to hold on to anything and be worried. I can just Go home and I can


[00:15:13] Jordan Raynor: I sell our listeners on the benefits of this? Yeah. I mean, you’ve kind of already done it. Let me explain what we’re talking about a little bit for those who haven’t read the book. So, the second principle of the book is let your yes be yes, straight from the mouth of Jesus. The problem is you and I are saying yes in a million different places all day, every day.

We make commitments via text messages. We make commitments via emails. We make commitments in conversations with people after church. and most dangerously, We have a lot of commitments that are just rolling around in our heads, right? And that’s a problem because neuroscientists will tell you That all those, I call those open loops, these commitments that are stuck in your head, all these open loops are causing you a phenomenal amount of anxiety and stress and blocking your ability to be present at home and at work because your brain knows that at some point you’re going to drop one of those 75 balls that you’re mentally juggling, right?

And your guess isn’t going to be us, right? And by the way, this is what, this is why I think, I think this problem is most acute with pastors. Because they so desperately want to obey Jesus’s command that they’re yes, BS. And they’re so stressed out because they know they’re not going to pull it off because they got all these open loops in their head.

So what I, what I advocate for in the book is building a single source of truth for every commitment you’ve ever made with yourself or anybody else. It’s what I call commitment tracking system, right? And people are asking right now, Oh, like what software do you use? Doesn’t matter. Like kind of doesn’t matter.

Right. I’m even hesitant to tell you what software I use because it’s the workflow of using a commitment tracking system that really matters most and I go through, there’s no way we could talk about it sensibly on a podcast, but I go through step by step in the book on how to build a commitment tracking system so that You never have to be playing with your kids in the living room and get stressed out by, Oh my gosh, I forgot to call it.

So and so or, Oh man, I wonder if I think I forgot to do something today. I don’t know what it is. And that nagging anxiety there, all of that is gone. You could be totally at peace with what you’re not doing because you know what you’re not doing and your brain is trusting that there’s an external brain that’s got all of that handled.

This is not Tiago Forte’s how to build a second brain, by the way. This is different. It’s a different methodology, right? but man, like that is the game changer Jimbo. Like if you can get that in place, it’s not easy to set up. But oh my word is it worth doing if you could bring your kids onto a podcast and they say I my dad’s more present When he’s traveling there, when he was home, that’s worth doing some hard things for

[00:18:04] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, a hundred percent. It’s such a huge difference. And listen, I, like I said, I’m not a naturally routine guy. I don’t like routines, but this, this has become so helpful for me. So that I can. Not only be a better dad, but I’m a better pastor. I’m a better friend because where I am is where I am. And I’m not trying to be two places at once. and so one, I would just, I want to just emphasize.

For pastors, I think this is so imperative. It’s become one of the main things I’ve realized pastors really struggle with. Because there are 10, 000 things to do, your work is never done. You never reach the end of a project. Discipleship is such a inefficient and messy process.

process that there’s always work to do. And so if you’re just being reactive, there’s always going to be something you can do. And here’s where it really comes down to the root of it. I think for pastors, if you’re finding your, this is where I switch to the third P purposeful. If you’re finding your validity in your ability to be a good pastor and not just a redeemed, adopted, loved child of God, then what you’ll find is you’ll be reactive and you’ll be far more willing to to sit with somebody else’s kid and talk to them about the Bible than you are just sit with your kid.

And because you find your validity as a pastor in your ability to be busy and you need to be able to find the ability to rest.

[00:19:28] Jordan Raynor: Amen, bro. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I don’t think I did. So there you go. Mike drop Jimbo Stewart style

[00:19:36] JimBo Stewart: So, that’s one of the biggest things I would say is, is this is such an important thing, especially here’s what I’d say for bivocational pastors, because bivocational pastors don’t have the margin for error that a full, that a, a fully funded, I’m not even gonna say full time because a, a


[00:19:53] Jordan Raynor: is full time. Yeah,

[00:19:54] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, a fully funded pastor may have the wiggle room in his week to fumble a few plays, and then he can make up for it somewhere else.

For a Bivo guy, you’re working, especially if you’re working 40, 50, 60 hours a week in your non church vocation, and you’ve only got, you know, a handful of hours really that you can give to this ministry, and then you’ve got to also give some as a husband and as a father, then, man, it is imperative that you get really, really good at this so that you don’t sacrifice your family at the altar of the ministry.

[00:20:33] Jordan Raynor: it’s good, man. It’s really good.

[00:20:36] JimBo Stewart: I know you’ve had conversations with a lot of pastors have reached out to you and connected to you as they’ve talked about this resource would have been some of the biggest points of feedback that you have received.

[00:20:47] Jordan Raynor: Yeah, man. I’ve had a lot of pastors. share the feedback you just shared, which is man, it was hard to get this commitment tracking system going. But once I did, it was one of the most life changing things I’ve ever done. I think the biggest point of pushback and questions have really come around.

Chapter five of accepting your uni presence, or I basically advocate for turning your phone on do not disturb for heaven forbid, an hour at a time, you know, two hours at a time so that you could do the work that God has called you to do in discipling your kids, loving your spouse, sermon prep, whatever it is.

And there’s a lot of pushback there and listen for fair reason. Reason, right? Like part of your job for a lot of pastors is being responsive to the needs of the flock i’m an elder in a southern baptist church like I get it but I would encourage you listener if that’s you it’s 100 possible to make this Right.

to where you can turn your phone on. Do not disturb for a couple of hours at a time and do that important deep work at home and in the office. I would just offer real quickly five steps for how to do this. Number one, you got to choose ahead of time when you want to check your messages. and it doesn’t matter how many times a day you want to check them.

What matters is that you have some plan on the front end for when you’re going to check them. Could be 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 7pm, whatever. You pick five, six times, whatever works for you works, number one. Number two, build a list of VIPs who will have access to you at all times and not just those predetermined ones, right?

So your, your VIPs may be the elders in your church. your assistant, your spouse, your kids, whatever. Step three, pull out your iPhone, put all those VIPs on your favorites list. If you’re an Android user, your people list. That way, when your phone goes on, do not disturb at the end of these five steps.

Only phone calls from these people will come through. Not their texts, not emails, not every Instagram notification of somebody liking yet another picture of your dog. just phone calls from your VIPs, right? So step one, choose ahead of time when you’re going to check your messages. Step two, build your list of VIPs.

Step three, add those to your favorites list on your phone. Step four, you got to go to your VIPs. And proactively set expectations around your response time moving forward. You can’t just stop cold turkey responding immediately to every text message, right? So you go to your VIPs with a message like this, say, Hey, I’m trying to be more focused on the work God’s given me to do in the office and at home.

Here’s how you can help me from now on. I’m only planning on checking my messages at X, Y, and Z times. However, you’re a VIP in my life. By the way, if you’re sending this to your spouse, pro tip, don’t call her a VIP, swap that out for another term. So if you need me more urgently than that, please don’t text me.

I’m not going to see it. Please don’t email me. I’m not going to see it. But if you call me on my cell, I’ll answer every single time. Last step. Step number five. Turn your phone on to not disturb for 30 minutes at a time for two hours at a time keep your phone in your master bathroom so that you can build forts with your kids in the living room and fully focus on them and Do the work that is called you do because let’s be honest Jimbo And I’m speaking for personal experience here. complain about being tethered to our devices, but we love Being tethered to our devices

[00:24:23] JimBo Stewart: Yeah.

[00:24:24] Jordan Raynor: Because we all have a savior complex. We love being needed. And frankly, a lot of the things popping up on our phone are more exciting than dressing up and playing with our kids. Right? but Hey, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to be focused on.

You’re called to love your spouse. You’re called to love your kids. You’re called to focus on this work God has given you to do. You need to make a way for truly urgent things to get through. And those are from the Lord, those interruptions that we need to embrace them. But in the meantime, put your head down and do the deep work.

God’s giving you to do

[00:24:59] JimBo Stewart: I love that. That’s been a huge practice for me. I would add turn off all your notifications. percent. Yep.

man, it, my life, my head is so much more peaceful. so I have scheduled times that I check social media. that, I have three times a day that I check. And what I found is because I do it so much less, I don’t even enjoy it as much when I do it.

cause I just check in. I’m like, Oh, I didn’t really miss anything. nothing super important. And so there are days where I don’t even use all three of my time slots that I have scheduled for checking social media. because I’m just not I’m not as drawn or tethered to it

[00:25:37] Jordan Raynor: You want to know the best, nicotine patch equivalent for social media. This like, this changed the game for me. When I, actually when I worked at Redeem Your Time, I was still checking Instagram every day. I, I now no longer check any social media. My, my team does, but I don’t. I started deleting and reinstalling Instagram every single day. So I would get to the end of my email block, I would have to go into the app store. Download Instagram, type in my insanely long password, right? And log in, which by the way, like only took like, I don’t know, 90 seconds. And then one day I realized like, man, this is way too much friction. And if it’s too much, if it’s too much work to spend 90 seconds, logging into something.

That service provides your life no value quit it So anyways, if this is a real challenge for you, like it used to be for me delete and reinstall every 24 hour

[00:26:31] JimBo Stewart: That’s a good idea. That’s a good idea. Hey, we’ve come to the end of our time. If people want to dive deeper, you’ve got all sorts of courses. You’ve got all sorts of ways they can dive deeper beyond the book. I’ll have a link to the book in the show notes. you’ll share those as well real

[00:26:45] Jordan Raynor: Yeah, man, everything’s at Jordan reyno. com, but I would say man for this audience Just go pick up redeeming your time at Barnes Noble or on Amazon wherever books are sold and dive in there That’s that’s the best place.

[00:26:57] JimBo Stewart: Awesome. Hey, so two, two things real quick. One, you would let our listeners know how they could be praying for you and your family and ministry. And then after that, would you please voice a prayer over those that are listening to this podcast that they would have wisdom as they manage their

[00:27:13] Jordan Raynor: Yeah, man, I’m greatly appreciate you asking. Um, Yeah, I, I was just saying, go back to where we started this conversation, man. Like I always need prayer, that God doesn’t become a boss, exclusively a boss for me, even primarily a boss that I, that I, my relationship to him is one of father to son rather than employer to employee. that is really hard, really hard. And I’ve like really wrestled with that, over the last couple of years on Sky Jotani’s book. With which i’m sure a lot of our listeners have read has been really really helpful to me there but man, I always need prayers there and I would love to pray for our listeners.

So let me do that. Folly god. I Thank you for these brothers who are out in the world Doing the good works you’ve prepared in advance for them to do in, serving your church, serving their communities. God and God, I pray. I’m just thinking of the words of my late friend, Tim Keller, who said that time stewardship is a biblical command.

God, I think that’s hard for us as pastors to see. This can feel like such a secular idea. But God, help us view this as a blessing and as a tool, to abound in truly productive things from an eternal standpoint. And God, help us to remember as we do this work for you, to first and foremost, do it with you to commune with you and experience, our belovedness so that we may extend that belovedness to those around us.


[00:28:57] JimBo Stewart: Amen. Thanks for coming on, Jordan.

Jordan raynor, productivity, Redeeming Your Time, task management, Time management

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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