Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

No Tag Backs

In Chrisian Life on January 25, 2016 at 8:48 am


Do you remember playing “punch bug”?  Every time you see one of these you call out the color, ie “white bug”.  The first to do so punches the other player in the shoulder.  Ahhhh…good times.  Then, someone decided it was cool to add “no backsies” or “no tag backs”.  Basically, the way we played it meant that the car was unusable for a period of time.  For us, it was the rest of the day.  The point was this:

Once something has been called it is not to be called back.

As I am reading through scripture, I came across the moment Pharaoh was getting tired of the plagues on him and his country.  He called in Moses and made a grand declaration,

27 Then Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. “Thelord is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. 28 Please beg the lord to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.”

If you don’t know the whole story, I suggest reading it.  Let me say this, he was caught and he knew it.  In that moment he wanted to say whatever was necessary to get out of his problem.

Punch bug, no backsies!

Often, our prayers are just 911 or “Get me out of this” statements.  We know what got us in that mess.  Now, we want to be out of it.  So we pray.  We beg God to help us.  Like Moses, God knows we don’t really mean it.  We are only saying it to remove the pain and pressure.  Once that is gone, we go right back to where we were before.  What we must realize is that God doesn’t honor backsies.  Pharaoh had to endure more costly moments because he did not truly believe.  We like Pharaoh let things get in the way:

  • His pride got in the way!
  • His politics got in the way!
  • His prejudice got in the way!

We do the same.  Start today my stopping “backsies” with God.  Make your confession.  Mark your repentance.  Mean it.

4 Steps To A Better Crew

In Leadership on February 10, 2015 at 9:01 am


During graduate school I worked at a Chick-fil-A in Arlington, TX.  Because of my school schedule I normally worked the night shift which meant I was the leader for mostly teenagers.  The day shift was the “adult” shift and the night shift was the “kid” shift.  At first, I wasn’t sure if that would be a blessing or not.  It was!  As with any job, adults or teens, those in management have responsibilities to keep order and focus.  It did not take long for them to learn my style.  They had grown accustomed to “doing” their task and then going home.

I remembered my first job.  I worked at Wendy’s on Lake Road in Dyersburg, TN.  My view of management at the time was like animal planet where they are on the Serengeti watching the Lion sit while everyone else buzzes around trying not to disturb his pondering.  Periodically they would emerge from the office only to call out everything we had done wrong and then scurry off to the back.  There seemed to never be interaction, instruction, or involvement.

I wanted this team to be better.  I wanted this location to be the best job they ever had.  While I am fully aware that a high school job is hardly a life changing experience please don’t kill the dream.  I worked alongside them.  I talked with the crew.  I laughed with the crew.  I also inspected the crew.  Every place has standards and it was a part of my job to make sure that those standards were being met.  I told them, especially on Friday nights, the more we work together and do it right the earlier we can leave.  With a job well done I blessed them with early exit.  We read in Exodus:

So the people of Israel followed all of the lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the lord had commanded him, he blessed them.

God had given Moses a job to and told him who needed to do it.  Once the job was done, Moses inspected the work.  When he found it was done right he blessed them. Our culture likes to skip and/or dismiss a step in this process. Often I find those who want to be blessed for showing up, tipped for doing inadequate work, or given a raise for time served.  Accountability is difficult, but necessary, work. Holding someone accountable requires that management and worker run in tandem to accomplish the necessary tasks of life, work, and home chores.  A few thoughts for those who lead others:

  1. Have well-defined roles through job descriptions. The easiest way to help a person understand your expectations is to express them in a job description.  This description is to be written clearly and with the ability to evaluate using it as a guide and tool.
  2. Clearly define tasks and responsibilities with measurable aspects. The tabernacle and its pieces had specific measurements and products to be used.  It was not hard for Moses to inspect.  Defining the tasks for your crew helps everyone know the expectations.
  3. Inspect regularly. At the end of every shift, we had a checklist.  After a week at camp, we have a checklist of cleaning duties.  My staff has quarterly evaluations.  This allows for focus to be maintained.  If we waited to check it every year things could get really skewed.  Course corrections are made along the way.
  4. Bless based on job performance. I am tired of the notion that simply because you clocked in that we should somehow praise you.  Those servers who want a tip forget that it means “to insure promptness” and was given ahead of the need.  Now we give a tip after the job.  I tip if they are deserving.  Give raises and bonuses to those who have earned the blessing by a job well done.  It was only after inspection that Moses blessed.

Those under your care and leadership might not always like the accountability and inspection.  I have found that those moments will occur when they know the job wasn’t done right or well enough.  We cannot expect perfection every time, or often.  Yet, we can provide guidance to exceptional.  Moses had a very cranky crew at times, but that was who God wanted him to lead.  You may not have the greatest crew to watch over, but those are who God has for you.  Lead well.

Let It Flow

In Leadership on June 18, 2014 at 9:41 am


During the Softball Season we usually have to deal with rain-outs and makeup games.  The team was assembled one evening and warming up on the field when I received a call.  The team we were playing asked if we were arriving soon.  I knew then that something had gone wrong.  Each of us believed this game to be a home game.  Now what?  I called our director to discuss the situation.  Apparently the director of the other team had forgotten to relay the information that this was to be played in our town.  I lobbied for a forfeit and win for us, but the response I received was “accidents happen”.

Accidents do happen.  My son came barreling through the house the other day and knocked something off the shelf and it broke causing my wife to be upset.  He shrugged and said “accident”.  While true, there is some responsibility to be born.  I drove too fast around a curve and ended up in the ditch.  It was an “accident”.  However, someone had to pay for the damages!

Accidents happen every day, but someone must take the responsibility.  I told the director and also my son what I was told when my Dad arrived.  Accidents happen but so do consequences.  I was being taught that taking responsibility for the results of my actions was important.  It is and God thinks so also.

The Israelites found themselves wandering around in the desert when this happened…

While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women.  These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab.  In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the lord’s anger to blaze against his people. The lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.”

God put Moses in charge.  Moses put tribal leaders in charge.  God told Moses the consequence and Moses relayed it to the tribal leaders.  While neither Moses nor the Leaders were involved in the exploits, they had to take responsibility of those in their charge.

Every organization has a downward flow of responsibility and upward flow of accountability. Those for whom I am responsible are also accountable back to me.  Here a few keys to taking responsibility.

1.  You’re not guilty unless you are involved in the alleged actions.  For example, if there is a department that behaves badly or misses deadlines, the boss will hold the supervisor responsible while the supervisor holds the people responsible.  Why?  Because of the downward responsibility and upward accountability.   Too often I find that top of the chain leaders take full responsibility instead of holding accountable those actually in charge of particular areas.

2.  Don’t micromanage.  In church, the pastor is the one who holds the greatest accountability to God.  Meanwhile, he can also hold a staff person responsible for that which is under his/her purview.   That staff person, acting responsibly, will go the next in line for answers to the issue.  While it may seem easier for the pastor/leader/boss to go straight to the person who acted badly, it harms the system and undermines the authority of those in the chain of responsibility.  Moses did not go the people.  Moses went to the tribal leaders.

3.  Consequences are a part of life.  From Adam, Eve, and the Serpent we are fully aware that there are consequences to our actions.  Failing to administer them or minimizing them is not healthy for the larger group.  There are good and bad consequences.  Let us make sure we provide both to balance the environment.  If negative consequences are the only ones provided then those who seek attention begin to act poorly.  An old adage of education is reward what you want to see.

Leading a large body of people, no matter the industry, requires that there be a balance of responsibility being accepted and accountability being demanded.

Handling Frustrations in Leadership

In Leadership on June 10, 2014 at 10:35 am


If you are in leadership you will face frustrations.  These come in the form of attempting to unify and separated people or criticisms when not every idea is considered worth acting on to fulfill Kingdom work.  Unifying a separated people can take its toll also.  Often, leaders find themselves in difficult positions as they stand between the plan, purpose, and people of the organization.  How can leaders get a handle on the frustrations?  I believe an episode in the life of Moses gives insight.

1.  Find God’s Plan.  God has a plan for every organization and its leader.  Through prayer and Bible reading you can discover God’s will for your situation.  Moses went to God to discuss the issues.  While spending time with God, it was revealed to Moses what he should do.  Spending time reading Scripture and meditating on God and His Will you will not only find the plan He has but also the peace He can provide.

2.  Keep Calm and Carry On.  When leaders get frustrated to a breaking point it is easy to over-react to something.  Moses was very frustrated with the people, God, and his current assignment.  He went to God and found the plan.  He, however, did not completely follow the plan.  His act of disobedience caused a personal problem with God.  The people were satisfied because they received water, but the method of Moses went against God’s plan.  Leaders must keep emotions in check through the turbulent moments in order to stay in right standing with God.

3.  Follow Orders.  Leaders have a hard time with following orders because they become accustomed to giving orders rather than receiving them.  When God reveals a plan it is critical for the leader to obey in detail.  The end does not justify the means in God’s eyes.  The people wanted water.  Moses, through God, provided water.  Yet, God told Moses to speak to the rock but he struck it instead.  You might be facing the same situation you have faced before, but that does not mean God will give you the same method as before.  Be sure to obey the direction of God

Leadership certainly has its ups and downs.  Sadly, leaders are out of balance in today’s culture being heavy on the down side.  With people playing politics, critics speaking out, and factions rising those moments of joy in leadership can pale in comparison.  Paul relays to Timothy that he is to keep his head down, work hard, and follow the plan of God.  In so doing, you may not win over all the people, but God will be pleased.  With eternity just down the road, choose to make God happy rather than spending all your time and energy trying to make the people happy.

Drought Conditions Continue

In Chrisian Life, Money, tithe on May 21, 2014 at 6:54 am


In the wake of difficult economic times and drought conditions churches are scrambling to cover the expenses and needs of ministry.  The art and craft of tithes and offerings is waning in a culture that has firmly grasped onto pleasure and personal wants.

Stewardship is, in a sense, management.  We have been given good gifts from a great God.  How will we manage all of these items?

How will I manage the family?  God has entrusted to me three people: wife and two children.  Honestly, I do not try to manage my wife as much as encourage her to be all that God desires in her and through her.  Actually, helping the children become what God desires is the point.  Getting them there is management!

How will I manage the possessions?  Whether it be the cars, the house, or the land, I am to manage that which God has given to me and our family in such a way that brings honor and glory to God.

How will I manage the money? It is extremely easy to begin thinking of income as something I own rather than manage.  I worked and got paid.  It’s my money.  Right?  Everything in all the Earth is the Lord’s.

6 So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. 7 Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.

Exodus 36:6-7

The concept of proper thinking and management is critical to understanding this passage and our current predicament.  Moses asked for offerings to cover the expenses of the ministry and building needs.   So much came in that he called for them to stop!  Each week churches call for tithes and offerings in order to meet ministry and building needs.  It is the owner’s desire that 10% of whatever is given to us be returned to the church.  As the manager, I will faithfully fulfill the duties to which I have been called.

Give until it hurts! Honor God this weekend!

Blowing Your Horn

In Chrisian Life on April 22, 2014 at 9:42 am


I live out in the country and have along driveway that used to gravel on it. Over the years it has all shifted and now there is just dirt. It often reminds me of the car driving ride at amusement parks where there is a median in the middle so you cannot swerve out of control. Because we drive the same path every day to get from the road to the house the same has been developed over the years. Our spiritual lives can get that way as well. God told Moses to fashion out 2 silver trumpets to be used in distinct ways.

  • Blow the trumpets to gather people.
  • Blow the trumpets to scatter people.
  • Blow trumpets to go to war.
  • Blow the trumpets to thank God.

Why would God want this to happen? I believe it is for two reasons.

First, blowing the horns causes the people to be mindful. How often have we gathered together to worship a powerful God, risen Savior, and mighty Spirit only to have it feel lackluster and mundane? Shame on us! Let us blow the trumpet of celebration that we can gather. I have been in many churches and several have over the exit door a sign that says something to the fact of “leaving to serve”. We gather to worship and scatter to serve God in our everyday lives. We give lengthy monologues on all we want God to do for us. How often do we spend thanking Him for the gifts, provisions, and answers? We are to blow the horn.

Second, blowing the horns announces to God that we recognize we are not in this alone. We are in a covenant. Too often we live our lives on our own by our choosing. Taking the time to blow the horns pulls us and God close together. We are in a covenant with Him. Jesus did not say he was starting a new contract, a new denomination, or new nation. He was fulfilling the covenant we broke by sin and instituting a new one by grace. We blow the horns so we all come together.

When you consider how often the trumpets would be blown, it would seem the trumpets might be sounding a lot! Each of these had different types of signals, but the point was that God wanted to people to gather, scatter, fight, and thank.

  • Do you find yourself gathering before God with others on a regular basis?
  • Are you in a position of leadership in your church so that the trumpets would be blown for you?
  • Do you live habitually for Jesus so that you would hear the trumpets if God wanted to make changes in your life?
  • Do you record and share moments of gratitude?

Which signal is sounded most often in your life?

Hard Work Beats Talent

In Chrisian Life, Journey on April 9, 2014 at 8:16 am



Durant won the scoring title this year because he worked hard and put out the effort.

Kentucky wanted a championship, but they couldn’t make their free throws.

Cubbies want a pennant, but their best chance has already passed since the season has now started.

Here are things we want or have wanted:

  • to be debt-free
  • to live comfortably
  • the big house
  • to graduate
  • a stable marriage and family

How do we get any of these things?  We get them through hard work and effort.  Infomercials will try to sell you on how to get it all without doing anything.  I get emails and offers all the time of how to make thousands while working from the coffee shop or my couch!  Often the same is true in our relationship with God.  We want all the positives without having to do anything for them.

Right out of the box God expressed to the Israelites that God’s blessing is CONDITIONAL. Yes, I said it. God has conditions. He blesses obedience, honesty, integrity, and devotion. God expresses in these verses that obedience makes them God’s special treasure.

3 Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6 And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”

Too often we want all of God’s blessing without any payment of obedience or devotion. Everything good is worth the work and the wait. Put in the time.

If we want to have a stable, developed relationship with God it will take effort.  Are you willing to do so?  Don’t lose out on the glory of a championship because you didn’t do the work from the charity stripe.  Don’t give up before you start and think there is no chance.

You can.  You should. God will help you.

Getting Stoned With Jesus

In Chrisian Life on December 13, 2013 at 9:12 am

spare-the-rod-spoil-the-childMany would say that I was spoiled as the adopted and only child of my parents who loved me in word, deed, and gifts.  Maybe I was spoiled, but there were boundaries also.  My parents did not shy away from a good spanking/punishment when I needed it, and I often did!

  • Pulling the pigtails of the girl in front of me (K)
  • Lying to Dad about my behavior in class (1st)
  • Slipping through the prohibited fence (3rd)
  • Getting caught “playing doctor” (3rd)
  • Getting in a fight (5th)
  • Cussing in front of Dad (8th)
  • Wrecking the car (11th)
  • Jumping RR tracks (12th)


The spankings and groundings were nothing compared to what happened with this woman in John 8.  Jesus was on the outs with the Pharisees which was not news.  They were looking for a way to trap Him in order to get rid of Him.  They bring out this woman who was caught in the act of adultery.  The law requires both be stoned, but who really reads all the law anyway?  The point is that the Pharisees wanted to see how Jesus would react to the situation.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.

Getting Stoned

She had no excuse.  Her punishment was certain.  Depending on what Jesus said to the Pharisees, she would get stoned with Jesus.  After much prodding, Jesus finally responds with a unique response.  He addressed the real issue of the attitude of the Pharisee.

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 

What’s Really Happening

The Pharisees did not care for the woman.  Those who are trying to discredit Jesus will do whatever it takes.  You will quite possibly get caught in the middle as a pawn in their sick game.  Of course, if the woman had not been involved she would not have been caught.  If not her, they would have found someone.  There is always someone making themselves available for such a role unfortunately.  Don’t be that person.

Jesus never said she was innocent.  She had done an awful and illegal thing.  Often we do awful and bad things too.  These choices put us into bad situations.  The charges were brought and Jesus was expected to render some verdict.  He knelt and played in the dirt.  He did not say she was innocent.  You and I are not innocent.  Being pure and being acquitted are different.  She was not without wrongdoing.  The Pharisees were not either.  Jesus challenged them by suggesting that whoever had no sin should throw the first stone.  The accusers walked away and the case was dropped.

Don’t Get Stoned With Jesus

Jesus would love it if everyone played nice together, but we do not.  Some are always looking for a way to run down God and Jesus.  Here are the tactics to be aware of as you go:

  1. Will bring up a non-believer and challenge God to “make it right”.  This is a simple power grab.  They are wanting to have the power of telling God what to do.  Be careful to not fall into this trap and get stoned with Jesus in the process.  Some arguments are not worth having.
  2. Will look for ways to twist the words and actions of Jesus in order to exonerate themselves.  The best response may simply be to stay quiet and play in the dust.  Your best position is closer to Jesus than the accusers.  Notice where the woman stayed during this process.
  3. Will look for opportunities to accuse you and throw Jesus in with you.  The Pharisees were ready to stone anyone who was in throwing distance.  Your decisions are being observed.  Be careful what you say, what you do, and where you go.

Would Jesus Have Been In 4-H?

In Chrisian Life, Community, Missional on April 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

Oklahoma 4H

I pledge
my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,

my hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

My kids are in 4-H.  Right now they both hold offices in their Jr 4-H chapter.  Every month at the meeting they begin with this pledge.  At the first National 4-H Camp in Washington, DC in 1927, the present 4-H pledge, worded first by Otis Hall, state leader in Kansas, was officially adopted.  The Executive Committee of the Land-Grant College Association had requested Dr. R. A. Pearson, president of Iowa State College, and Dr. A. C. True of the Federal Extension Service to write a pledge, and they had turned in the pledge substantially as written by Hall.  In 1973, the words “and my world” were added.

As I stood there and said the pledge I wondered, “Would Jesus have been in 4-H?”  He probably would have shown sheep or goats and showmanship would have been perfect!  Coming from a carpenter family, his skills in construction would have won something at the fair.  As I recited that pledge I thought of how well each of those parts create an individual that would be honorable.  As Moses was wrapping up his time as leader he spoke to Israel and his words are recorded in the book of Deuteronomy.  One famous line is now known as the Shema from Deuteronomy 6, “4Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

When asked what was most important about the religious law given to Israel, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.”

While the words might be rearranged a little, the same sentiment is seen in the 4H pledge.

I pledge my head to clearer thinking.  The Israelites were told to bind these words to their forehead.  God meant that figuratively to mean that Scripture should be on your mind.  Paul would later write to the Philippians, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)”  Keeping your mind set on Christ generally clears things up!

I pledge my heart to greater loyalty.  Loving God with all your heart means that the passions and desires of your life should be filtered through Scripture more than your friends and followers.  Loyalty does not happen automatically.  it takes time and attention.  Loyalty is a decision.  The wisest of all kings, Solomon, wrote, ‘Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.  Tie them around your neck;write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3)”

I pledge my hands to larger service.  Helping other people can be seen throughout the life of Jesus.  Because of Him, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the mute spoke, the sick were healed, and the hungry fed.

I pledge my health to better living.  The antithesis of this is found when we are breaking the other three pledges.  Even the Psalmist knew there was a certain way of living that brought health and choices that did not.  The Psalmist wrote, “There is no health in my body because of Your indignation;there is no strength in my bones because of my sin. (Psalm 38:3)”  If sin is simply seen as missing the mark, then it is right to think that when our head, heart, and hands are not right then our health will not either.

Would Jesus have been in 4H?  I don’t know.  However, I do think 4H provides opportunities that make better kids.


In Cleansing, Decisions, Family, Jesus on January 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I help out with a boys group on Wednesday night called Royal Ambassadors.  During the winter months we build pinewood derby cars and race them in February.  A critical part of this process is getting the weight distribution right along with the total weight of the car.  A buddy of mine and I were working in his shop one afternoon when I rediscovered this important truth:  a fresh battery works better than a dead one.  That may not come as a shock to you, but when you forget to put the spare on the charger everything grinds to a halt.  How often do we forget to recharge our batteries for the day, week, or month ahead.  How long has it been since you relaxed?  When was the last vacation?  How long has it been since you read a good book, played with your kids, or slept in?

The concept of re-creation has been smashed together into recreation.  Trust me, there is a big difference.  In our culture today we all find time for recreation.  We play golf, soccer, basketball, and softball.  We party on the weekends to forget the week we just had.  We overspend at the mall because we “owe” it to ourselves.  Our recreation is over-compensating.  The idea of re-creation is that we take a day, or part of one, every week to get in touch with ourselves, our Creator, our purpose, and that which matters in life.  At the end of 6 days of creation God had

  1. Established Balance
  2. Provided Definition
  3. Revealed Priorities
  4. Managed Time
  5. Taught Reproduction
  6. Made Distinctions

Now God “rested” from His creative efforts.  He did not stop existing.  He simply put into play a practice for us all.  He later came to Moses and more firmly stated that 1 day a week was to be set aside as holy.  This principle of re-creating is important because our lives have become on-demand 24/7.  Technology is a beautiful thing in computers and phones.  However, there is a stress that comes with being available all the time.  Some of the stress comes from other people demanding our availability.  A recent sit-com I watch made this point.  The wife called the husband who looked at the phone and turned it off.  She was mad because he did not field her call.  He did not want to talk.  Maybe a slight exaggeration, but the point is that if we do not take the time for re-creation we will soon die of complete exhaustion!

I was drilling the holes in the cars to add the weights when the drill quit cutting.  I thought the bit was stuck.  It wasn’t.  I thought the bit was dulled.  It wasn’t.  The battery was out of juice.  Because I did not plan ahead by charging the second battery, I had to stop.  No more work could be done until such a time as the batteries were charged.  That headache, or fatigue, or sickness, or depression, or marital fight might be simply related to our lives running down with no backup battery.  You have to stop and recharge now and then.  Most of our recreation wears us out more.  Re-Creation is unique in that it charges you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

How do we re-create?  Here are a few ideas.  Maybe you have some to add.


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