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Archive for March, 2010

I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  (Jesus’ final words to Peter, recorded in John 21:18)

Who you are today is not who you have to be tomorrow.

As a young follower of Jesus, Peter’s heart was filled with intense desire and great ambition, but his strength of character had not yet caught up with his passionate pursuit.

And that is how so many of us feel on our faith journey.  It seems our greatest enemy is ourselves as we push past who we were and who we are to find the man or woman we are destined to become.

These continual transitions in life are seen throughout the pages of the Bible as wilderness experiences.  They are the moments in history where the people of God have left their place of familiarity and comfort, but have not yet arrived at their place of promise.  They are on the way.  They are in process.  They are becoming.

  • Abraham crosses the wilderness to go to a land God promises to show him.
  • The Children of Israel cross the wilderness to enter the land of promise.
  • David gathers an army in the wilderness as he waits to become king.
  • Jesus prays, hungry and thirsty, as he wrestles in the wilderness with His calling as the Messiah.

And you make your way through the wilderness each time you leave who you were to pursue who God has called you to be.  Holding tight to a fragile promise and nurturing a tender faith, you press on to lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has laid hold of for you.

As we discovered yesterday, who Peter was on the night of the crucifixion was not who Peter would become.  Peter matured as a follower of Jesus — and his character caught up with his calling! 

Peter, the man who denied Christ, was crucified upside down on a cross because he did not consider himself worthy of dying in the same manner as his Messiah.  Peter lived in victory over his fear and experienced a life of glorious faith and ministry.

And so can you.

Podcast

Follow the link to listen to the dramatic presentation Vantage Point: A Disciple’s View performed by Loran Rule.

Links

Check out this radical video of the Youth Spring Break Mission Trip.  Great job guys!

On the Radar

Community Sunrise Easter Service at the Mustang Bowl, April 4, at 6:30 a.m.

“Beautiful One,” EFC’s Spring Women’s Event is coming Saturday, April 17, 10 am – 2 pm.  Ladies, mark your calendar for this special time of fun and ministry.

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “When I Think About the Lord” by Shane and Shane
  2. “I’ve Found a Love” Jenn Johnson version
  3. “In Christ Alone” Rita Springer version
  4. “Everlasting God” Chris Tomlin version

Sunday Preview

Make plans to join us Next Sunday, April 4, 2010, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and encounter the cross from our own point of view through a final dramatic presentation.  Also, our children will bless us through song!  Don’t miss it!

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It is easy to overlook the fact that there was more than one mommy who wept at the base of a cross on the day our Lord was crucified.  Two men hung on either side of Jesus, and each of those men had a mother as well, a mother who had dreamed of so much more for her son. 

And that is why the cross of Jesus is so significant.  Jesus died so the men beside him might know forgiveness.  Jesus died so their mothers might know peace.  Jesus died for each of us who has ever experienced disappointment, frustration, heartbreak, and shame.  Jesus died that we might have life.

I invite you to gain a new perspective on the events and people surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord.  Click on the media player to hear the dramatic presentation, “Vantage Point: A Mother’s View” and the follow up message “The God of Comfort.”  May you be blessed and refreshed as gain a new glimpse of the cross.

 

On the Radar

Community Sunrise Easter Service at the Mustang Bowl, April 4, at 6:30 a.m.

“Beautiful One,” EFC’s Spring Women’s Event is coming Saturday, April 17.  Mark your calendar for this special time of fun and ministry.

Family Connection

Did you miss the Parenting Class?  If so, check out the resource station at the back of the sanctuary to get a manual and cd set.

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “Grace Like Rain” by Todd Agnew
  2. “I Adore You” Jesus Culture version
  3. “Healer” Kari Jobe version
  4. “Revelation Song” Kari Jobe version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 28, 2010, we will continue our dramatic preaching series, “Vantage Points” with a look at the cross from the perspective of a disciple of Jesus.

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The View from the Cross by Lillian Jane Neal

 

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…”  –Hebrews 12:2

Special thanks to Lillian “Lightning Bolt” Neal for sharing this wonderful piece of art with us.  For order and usage requests contact efcsweetwater@aol.com

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Each of us has a perspective, a point of view concerning the cross.  All of our lives have been influenced by the crucifixion of Jesus.  But, what did those early witnesses see?  What was the perspective of those first century merchants, craftsmen, soldiers, and politicians?

The Bible records one sentence written in a message from a politician’s wife, and we discover even from the safety of her vantage point, her life was impacted by this Messianic preacher from Galilee.

Mathew 27 records her story: 

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Click on the media player to hear a dramtic presentation of a view of the cross through the eyes of Pilate’s wife.

On the Radar

We will not have any church activities this Wednesday evening due to Spring Break.  We pray you enjoy a wonderful time with your family this week!

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “See His Love” Jesus Culture version
  2. “Your Love Never Fails” Chris Quilala version
  3. “You Gave Your Life Away” by Katherine Scott
  4. “Here Is Love” Brian Johnson version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 21, 2010, we will continue our dramatic preaching series, “Vantage Points” with a look at what three different mothers saw when they stood beneath the cross.

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Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

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Consider these Bible facts:  Jesus traveled and taught for three years.  There are about 110 pages in the Bible dedicated to His ministry and message.  We have approximately 25,000 words that Jesus spoke recorded in the Bible.  Of those 25,000 words, Jesus taught about the Father in Heaven at least 181 times.

This means 1 out of every 140 words, Jesus was speaking about His Father.  His central message and purpose was to restore us to a relationship with our Daddy in Heaven. 

The following is a compilation of my ten favorite verses about our Father in Heaven.  All but two of them are spoken directly by Jesus Himself.  May you experience His love as you read the truth about your Abba.

10.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  –Matthew 6:26 

9.  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.  –Matthew 18:12-14 

8.  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  –Luke 6:35-36 

7.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  –Luke 12:32 

6.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”  –John 14:1-2 

5.  “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  — John 16:27 

4.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  — Romans 8:15-16 

3.  “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  — Matthew 7:9-11 

2.  How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

And what is the message all of these verses are hammering into our hearts?

  • You have a daddy who loves you.
  • He is strong enough to protect you.
  • He is engaged enough to teach you.
  • He is tender enough to hug you.
  • He is alive enough to play with you.

And the Number One verse regarding the love of the Father is this amazing truth–  no matter how far you have wondered, you can still come home!  Regarding the prodigal son, Jesus tells us:

1.  “When he came to his senses, he said…I will set out and go back to my father”  –Luke 15:17

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Click to view the Father’s Love Letter

Podcast

You can find Pastor Eric’s message, “The Love of the Father,” on the Emmanuel Fellowship Church web site.  Click to listen

Links

Fathered By God by John Eldredge

Healing the Father Wound by H. Norman Wright

Groovy Giveaway — Peter Lopez is giving away videos of the new series from the creators of Veggie Tales, “What’s in the Bible?”  Head over to www.BeautyoftheBible.com to enter to win. 

Quotes

“Father! – to God Himself we cannot give a holier name.”  –William Wordsworth

On the Radar

Kingdom Principles for Raising Children second session tonight, March 8, at 7:00 pm.  Childcare is provided.

Lifegroups meet this Wednesday at 7:00 pm.  Click here for more Life in Sweetwater information.

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in my office.  Everyone is welcome to join in, just bring your Bible and a lunch box.  Keep up with the progress at The Watchman’s Gaze.

Be in prayer for our Youth Mission Trip as they head to Mission Arlington over Spring Break.

Our Nursery is taking applications for a consistent Sunday morning Nursery Worker.  If you or anyone you know are interested in filling this position, please contact the church office at 325-236-9200.

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well, at www.efcyouth.com.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “We Cry Out” by Jesus Culture
  2. “Your Love is Everything” by Jesus Culture
  3. “Freedom Reigns” by Jason Upton
  4. “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 14, 2010, we begin to turn our hearts toward the amazing sacrifice of our King upon the cross.  “Vantage Points” is our four week series leading up to Easter.  Each week will offer a dramatic presentation of a witness to the crucifixion.

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* All Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

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Of all the truths we learn from following Jesus, how to live in relationship with others is one of the most essential.  The central message of the Bible is instruction on how to live in right relationship with God and with one another.  The following is a list of the “One Another” verses found in the teachings of the New Testament. 

Mark 9:50 – Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

John 13:14 – If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12 – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Romans 12:10-16Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.  14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Romans 13:8-10 – Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 14:12-13 – So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Romans 15:5-6 – Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:7 – Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. 

Romans 15:14 – Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 – Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 – that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 – For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Ephesians 4:2 – with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:19-21speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Colossians 3:9Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

Colossians 3:12-13 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 – But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 – Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

James 4:11Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.

James 5:9Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:16Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

1 Peter 3:8-9 – Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 4:8-10 – And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 – Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 – For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

1 John 3:23 – And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

1 John 4:7-11 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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The Bible is full of interesting lists and descriptions, but have you ever wondered about the “begots” and “son ofs” in the Bible?  What message do those lists of names tell us?

I believe those simple lists carry a powerful truth about the people begotten in them, and they communicate an amazing reality to a young person reading about their genealogy.

Those lists tell us that people have fathers; that my name means something; that my life is part of a much bigger story.  Those lists tell a person where they come from and the truth that they are going somewhere.  In a very real and powerful way, the begots in the Bible tell us what we are a part of and who we are.

I am intrigued by the genealogy of Noah.  He lived in a day unlike what any of us have experienced.  It was a brief time in history when people had not only their fathers, but their great, great, great, great, great grandfathers to love and instruct them.  In fact, as we look at the list of the first men to walk the earth, we discover Adam lived to see all of the pre-flood generation born, except for Noah.  I can only imagine what the conversations were like between Adam and Enoch or Methusaleh, as Adam described what it was like to walk in the Garden with God their Father.

And then, around the year 1656 of mans presence on earth, for the first time since Adam, we see a man living disconnected from his forefathers.  Noah is a man who knew what it was like to be fatherless.  And in that same year, a flood covered the earth.

I believe we are living in one of the most fatherless times in the history of our nation.  This fatherless season has brought a flood of insecurity and lack of true purpose upon our culture. 

It is time to build an ark, a safe place where people can discover they have a history and a heritage.  It is time for people to know again they have a place in the lineage of the saints.  Each of us has been handed a legacy, and it is up to each of us to pass that legacy to a future generation.

Podcast

You can find Pastor Eric’s message, “Bridging the Generations,” on the Emmanuel Fellowship Church web site.  Click to listen

Links

Laugh Your Way attenders, find your Flag Page here!  Don’t forget to schedule a visit with Pastors Eric and Mindy to review what’s right about you!

On the Radar

“Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” BONUS NIGHT TONIGHT!!!  Monday, March 1, at 7:00 pm, we will watch the concluding video of the Laugh Your Way series.  This is the “yo mamma” session– one you don’t want to miss.

Don’t forget to vote in the primary election Tuesday!

Revelation Bible study this Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in my office.  Everyone is welcome to join in, just bring your Bible and a lunch box.  Keep up with the progress at The Watchman’s Gaze.

Night of Worship and Art Fusion this Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. 

Drum Circle this Thursday evening, 6:30 pm, in the church sanctuary.

Kingdom Principles for Raising Children this Sunday evening, March 7 at 6:00pm and Monday, March 8, at 7:00 pm.  Childcare is provided for both evenings.

Our Nursery is taking applications for a consistent Sunday morning Nursery Worker.  If you or anyone you know are interested in filling this position, please contact the church office at 325-236-9200.

Family Connection

Parents, be sure to check out the Worldchangers website.  We align our Bible curriculum from the nursery all the way up to our youth.  Access the Family Connection page on the website to bring your children’s Bible lesson home to the kitchen table. 

We also have all the info you need about RAMP, our ministry to youth in Sweetwater High School and Middle School and surrounding campuses, as well.

You Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can usually find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “O Taste and See” by Brian and Jenn Johnson
  2. “By Faith”
  3. “’Tis  So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” – great new hymn album available at www.leahmari.com!
  4. “Here is Love” Brian and Jenn Johnson version

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday, March 7, 2010, we will conclude our sermon series “Here is Love,” by taking a close look at the unconditional love of Godly parents.

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