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The Other Side of Christmas

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so why don't you go ahead and open up your Bibles to Luke in Chapter two we're gonna get started in this message that is a part of our Advent series that we've been running really since December started and I know that Christmas is over but we're gonna still talk about some of the themes that are involved in the Christmas story and this one specifically immediately after Jesus's birth into this world man I hope you're excited for the new year I know that Christians aren't aren't supposed to make resolutions anymore right is that a thing that we don't do I told somebody I asked somebody do you make resolutions and they record something like whoa no hey no no I - Jesus all the time how about life things that's okay my bet I kind of like that we have something that's built into our calendar every year that's a little bit of us start over and you don't have to make resolutions and I'm not a huge resolution guy either but I like something that allows us refresh and recall what this last year was like maybe do a little bit of reflecting and then allow us an opportunity to maybe make some changes do some things differently and obviously you can do that at any point of the year but I love that it involves it's just a space in our calendar that allows us to do that encourage us to do that every year so there's a few things that I'm going to do in this new year number one and this is starting as a theme from Christmas this last week I'm going to eat less cream-based things and I and it's just it's it's a problem you guys I feel like not we don't necessarily all make the decision to lose weight at the new year because it's a brand new year I think we make that decision a lot of times because of how much we just ate and how terrible we feel over the Christmas holiday everything is so easy to eat you are all you incredible cooks and bakers out there makes everything so accessible and it's all finger foods and I can put it in a cup and a bowl and on a plate I can have it in a car on a train like I can eat all the time at Christmas which is a mistake because my body wants to be fat so bad every time I eat my body is like wow I know there's only 200 colors but let's make it 1500 in it and I find myself around Christmas every time I don't like getting on a scale okay I don't like doing the scale thing to have it confirmed my greatest fears instead I just like you know feel my body every so often let go I'm I'm fine I know these pants are stretchy but they're not that stretch okay how many too few less cream-based things I'm gonna try to stay off my phone a little bit more in 2019 ah I don't know if you guys got that that thing on your phone now that tells you how much time you've spent each day on your phone wait it's just it comes in two I feel like if the enemy comes to steal and kill and destroyed that's what that app does to me it spoils my fun and my joy and it brings some self-awareness that I didn't know that I wanted but I'm gonna try to reduce that number down so that I'm even more a little bit present I've been I've been trying that one for last few years so i'ma do it again I try to spend less time on my phone this next year I'm also gonna spend time thinking about these these three things that the Bible talks about in first Corinthians chapter 13 and I've been it's consumed my life for this last year at least I hope it has and I'm gonna try to make it consume it again because I believe that within this scripture how we operate in how we love people it can completely change our lives it can change our outlook on life and it can change you other people around and that's in first Corinthians 13 it says love is love is patient and love is kind and it goes down all these things that love is and then it goes down to to love believe but love hopes all things it believes all things and it endures all things because if we really want to get down to the basic math of Christianity it is this that if God is love we should understand what love does and how it thinks and then we should operate in that fashion and so if love hopes all things then the church should be the most hopeful place on the planet it should be the most hopeful place in our city now it's funny a lot of times you know we feel like man the church is under attack or our philosophies are all these things and maybe in some cases that is true but I am hopeful because of the love that exists in the Father that exists for us I am hopeful that incredible things are ahead for our city in our nation in our world you can't take that hope from me you notice that it doesn't say that love is cynical about all things I want to be cynical about all things why because cynicism is safer than hope I will get let down by people that I hope in I will get let down by things and life that I hope in and when I am cynical I can protect myself from all those things but the thing about God is that he says no I know that that might be safer for you but what is actually better for you the jesus way of doing things is to hope to have high hopes incredible hope insurmountable hope that no one can take away from us so we need to hope I believe in the new year more than we ever have the second thing is it says that that love believes all things now whenever I read that growing up or in high school or even in college I was like man it believes all things love is love is super gullible love is just taken in by anybody I don't want to be one of those people I'm not ignorant I'm not stupid and if Christianity needs me to be ignorant then I am NOT interested in Christianity but really what the original language speaks of there is actually it's it's really like an interaction between two people where one person hurts the other person on purpose and that person looks back at get them and goes they didn't mean that and it's funny because we are wired something inside of our nature says no payment to do that I have a four year old and a one-year-old who are being taken care of by someone else right now for the first time in five days which means it's gonna be a long sermon because I am just this is so safe up here right now and it's so quiet I just nobody's hitting me then I have a four year old a one-year-old and my son already has figured out how to do the the really soccer player nonchalant walk past my one-year-old sister and just hip check her into the wall thing you know and yeah they're just walking past each other he's not even going faster swam walk he goes I didn't she just was walking I don't like you did it on purpose and you're gonna pay we are geared to just react no I know what they did I know what they said I know it was premeditated and God is telling us no love exists in in yeah we might know and they did premeditate that and they did think that way and they meant to hurt you but really what the scripture is saying is that love sees something and believes in something that is in each person and each situation that is redeemable it always sees something that is redeemable which means we see it like Jesus sees the heap of trash that my life looks like sometimes or maybe your life looks like sometimes and he looks into our sin into our pain and he says no that is redeemable that can come back that can see grace and experience grace that can feel love like it's never felt it before and we are called as the people of Jesus in this new year and for the rest of our lives to believe the best for people that we just want to quit on I'm not asking you to be ignorant I'm not asking you to be stupid but I am asking you to believe in situations that the rest of the world chooses not to believe in that is who we're called to be and then finally it says it endures all things love endures all things I love that it says it believes all things which means we got to play offense right and we got to go to the people you have to actively believe in a situation or a person and then it doesn't follow it up by saying it believes on thing it believes all things in parentheses unless they don't give that belief back to you there is a certain amount there's only a certain amount that you can withstand I'm gonna believe all things until it's not convenient for me anymore it's kind of like the Golden Rule right my dad told me about this when I was growing up he said you know the Golden Rule son and I was like no I don't know what is you got to treat others how you want to be treated and I said that's great they are not treating me how I want to be treated he said listen to scripture again treat others how you would like to be treated that's fine but they're mean to me it has nothing to do with the other people's reaction to you the church is never meant to be reactionary to the world we don't love people based on how much they love us we love them and we love them and we love them and we them and we keep coming back again and again and again why because love doesn't just believe it endures it believes in that it endures it believes and then it gets burned and that it endures again it believes and that it gets mistreated and it gets hurt and the church and the people that followed Jesus will come back again and again and again and I believe that that is what Westside Church is going to do in the future and what we have done so far and we're gonna continue to increase in as we go forward and so I don't know again if you make resolutions or anything like that I believe that every single year if you can stop and take some time to think about those three things how can I hope more how can I believe and who can I believe in more and how can I continue to endure these things I promise you that will change the world a perfect service will not this incredible epic life change will not but instead those three things will change the world so we are talking about Advent now that was just like a little pregame for you all right I hope I hope that's okay I'm gana this is kind of how I pregame Seahawk games too you know in Jesus name bless them today and no injuries I just like to talk and get real excited but you guys are in Luke in chapter 2 and we're gonna continue on the Christmas story it really does continue in a lot of ways we talk a lot about especially over Christmas Eve that an angel comes and visits Mary and says this is what's gonna happen I know that you haven't had sex yet but you're gonna you're gonna be pregnant soon so go ahead and tell that to your fiance and see how he feels about it poor Joseph man I know he doesn't get a lot of play in this I don't mean poor Mary to bits shoot you know like really actually poor Mary more than anything poor Mary's got to come to Joseph and go hey here's the deal I'm pregnant isn't that exciting don't worry I haven't cheated on you it was God you know cuz Joseph's going from panic to oh no God no for sure though that sounds great yeah I believe you man so we have that part of this story and and then of course Jesus is born and then these angels come the shepherds and the Shepherd's come and there's gifts that are brought and and Jesus is worshipped and all these things happen and that is really where the story ends a lot of the time and it is that's what we have in Scripture we don't have anything really until Jesus begins his ministry and he's baptized by John which is around the time when he's 30 years old so he goes from birth or two and then they're really this is the only story that we have and this is Luke 2 and chapter 41 I'm gonna read it from the message version because I just like how it reads a little bit better it says every year in Luke chapter 2 verse 41 every year Jesus parents travel to Jerusalem for the Peace feast of Passover when he was 12 years old they went up as they always did for the feast and when it was over they left for home and the Child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem but his parents didn't know it Yeah right I accidentally lost my kids too in the atrium the other day thinking he was somewhere in the company of pilgrims they journeyed for a whole day and began looking for him among relatives and neighbors and when they didn't find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him the next day they found him in the temple seated among the teachers listening to them and asking questions the teachers were all quite taken with him impressed with the sharpness of his answers but his parents were not impressed they were upset and hurt his mother said a young man Hey and you guys have your mothers start sentences with a young man it's uh that's scary stuff right there young man why have you done this to us your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you and he said why were you looking for me don't you know that I had to be here dealing with the things of my father but they had no idea what he was talking about so he went back to Nazareth with them and lived obediently with them and his mother held these things dearly deep within herself Jesus matured growing up in both body and spirit blessed by both God and people so this is the one real story that we have when Jesus is still an adolescent where he's left behind he's hanging out with the teachers and he says something that a lot of your Bibles described as I must be about my father's business I'm in his house going about his business and I think the Christmas that we celebrate check out my cool little advent calendar here I would love to tell you that this is handcrafted by the flemings from many decades ago I got it on Amazon a couple days ago because I needed a prop and praise God for Prime right yeah so here it is and I'm sure we'll use it next year or something like that but how we celebrate Christmas is a lot of how the story of Jesus is we come up to December I really we come to Thanksgiving and the holidays begin and we have we have things that mark our calendar right we have these that will take us all the way through the month some of them are you open up and there's little chocolate candies in them we had a friend give our kids each a chocolate candy advent calendar but she gave them to him seven days late and then encouraged them to catch up at 7:30 p.m. and we're not friends anymore it's all right but actually came an advent calendar and every day my kids would want it you know what day is it what number is it I want to open this one up and you know usually maybe around here or something you're out and you're getting a Christmas tree and you're starting to decorate and start some of those traditions and maybe about around here you've you've gained seven eight pounds and you know as an ascending I don't know why I'm talking about weight so much because maybe I'm self-conscious today and uh but you there's different things that mark the calendar there's Christmas Eve services there's festivals and traditions and family and we mark the calendar my wife and I celebrated Christmas on the 23rd this year with our family because things get crazy around Christmas we so we try to take the last easy day to have and enjoy Christmas with our kids and we are opening the gift we are in the middle of opening the gifts and my wife who loves Christmas more than anybody that I know it looks over at me and she goes I cannot wait to have that tree out of my house like it is the 23rd of December you know she wants to bash it over the head with a glass bottle and throw it out in the yard I'll get rid of the thing and and that's kind of how it goes a lot of times in our lives we have this month or we have this season or maybe aside from the Christmas season you have something in your life that's been marking the time that you've been looking forward to you been checking the box and you continually go through it and then you reach a pinnacle and then what happens in Bend is that all the lovely holiday snow loving people start to get angry have you noticed this there are people that Instagram the first snow and how beautiful it is and marvelous and oh the crunch it's gonna be a white Christmas and then January 2nd hits and it goes from being a blessing from heaven to a tool of the enemy to rob us of everything that we have that we enter into this kind of dark winter where everybody begins to just hope and pray that summer would come soon it's this empty time in Jesus in a lot of ways he has this empty time all this pomp and circumstance the Angels come it's this massive incredible thing the Messiah is born and then God who made the decision to put skin on and come down in the form of a baby says I'm going to be on earth for 30 years before anybody really really truly has it confirmed to them that I am who I say I am he spends 30 years in obscurity he spends 30 years figuring this thing out and there's actually really three things that I want to take you through today that Jesus does that I believe that could relate to all of our lives that Jesus accomplishes in these 30 years the first thing is that he becomes anonymous and in a lot of ways because he's anonymous or obscure he's doubted now of course that story around Mary and Joseph and baby and kind of the scandal that I'm sure that it was would have created a lot of questions that people had as they would have watched this family if they would have heard anything about them and so Jesus is immediately ushered into a culture of people wondering about him doubting him believing that maybe he was something that he was not and this could be a difficult place for us to exist in I believe that a lot of you have big dreams and big visions for your life and this moment after you Instagram and tell everybody that you're gonna lose 50 pounds after you tell all of your friends and family that you're gonna be an entrepreneur and start this business that's gonna change the world after you begin all this incredible mark you you say I'm gonna start all this marketing thing begins these days of anonymity and obscurity where you want to be taken seriously or you want to have a lot of the benefits that come along with being accomplished but you simply don't you are in that in-between time you're in that dark time now the mistake that we often make is that we begin to believe the lie that we are not accomplishing the thing that God actually told us to accomplish because we sit in this anonymous time you know that Jesus at three years old was still the savior of the world just like he was at 31 he was still that that calling was still upon him even though nobody else was giving him the credit nobody else was acknowledging him for it I gotta tell you today that if God has put something on your heart and you haven't been acknowledged by a pastor you haven't been acknowledged by your co-workers you haven't been acknowledged by your family just yet that does not mean that that calling has any less value that doesn't mean because you haven't opened up a storefront yet that you aren't gonna be an entrepreneur that changes the world I was talking to a colleague recently who is um he's doing ministry timewise full-time and east but he's having to work and make money full-time in another area of life he's doing construction and he said man I just want to start I just want to start ministry I want to get this thing going and I had to look at I'm out for a little while and be like dude this is it you're a pastor right now well nobody's calling me pastor and I don't like have office hours or anything like that who cares you're an entrepreneur right now you're a mom and you're a dad right now even though you've been praying for those kids to come and you haven't been able to get pregnant yet you are you can begin this journey right now and just because everybody else can't see it doesn't mean that the fate that exists inside of you and the calling that exists inside of you has no value God has put something on your heart and on your life with intention and with purpose and do not let the in anonymity and do not let the obscurity take that calling away from you just because other people don't acknowledge it doesn't mean that God hasn't already made a way for it so he became anonymous that was the first thing that Jesus did the second thing was he became studious this is actually a story about him hanging out with all the smart people or and having hit em teach him and it sounds like he was teaching them a few things as well we got to be learners if we're gonna have this time of in between where we haven't reached the pinnacle we haven't reached the peak which by the way I don't know some of you guys have lived more life than you how often do you just stay out of peak in life and say everything is awesome right now I haven't lived a ton of life but I think I've lived enough enough to know that I've gone through some of the ups and downs that every single one of those next shelves and next echelons of life the satisfaction seems to be really fleeting I remember being really excited about graduating junior high which is what is that why do we anyway that was a rant that I'm just gonna keep right here and then I remember being excited about graduating high school and then going to college and then you know moving out on my own and then getting married and then all of these things while incredible for a time the satisfaction was so fleeting I really believe that if we are to be the church that God has called us to be and that you are to be the mom and the dad and the brother and the sister if you are to be the one that God has called you to be then we are to be a people that have to be present and satisfied not because we sit at the mountaintop or the apex of existence but instead we sit within the arms of Christ that is what satisfaction that is the true satisfaction that is the sustainable satisfaction as if we exist inside of all that Jesus is at all times and so in those moments where we become anonymous we have to be studious we must be willing to learn when was the last time you learned something when was the last time you brought someone into your group of friends that you didn't necessarily agree with everything that they that they agreed with when was the last time you were intentional about asking as many questions as you could no matter what age you are I believe that God is calling us to continue to learn because as we learn the idea and the greatness of Jesus grows in our hearts and in our minds being studious is where the work actually is and then finally the last thing that Jesus had to be was patient how many of your patient that's uh that's about right yeah that's about right I think you guys I think I'm getting more patient and mature all the time and then one of my child loses a stuffed animal right before bedtime and I am NOT I am basically a child myself I lose all patience excuse me Jovie look at me if you lose sky and chase one more time 30 minutes for bedtime I'm just gonna lock you in that crib there's a reason there's bars on that thing you can't get away from it I'm just gonna put you in there turn out the lights and turn off the baby monitor hello freedom I'm after 8 o'clock I get so impatient I get impatient in traffic I get impatient with people that don't know how to drive in the snow and Jesus name and Jesus for some reason God decides hey I'm gonna put skin on I'm gonna come down to the world I'm gonna deal with things like puberty and I am going to wait for my opportunity I have to be patient it's the fact of the matter is is that we just want things right now because we feel weak we only feel fulfilled in those fleeting moments where we think we're accomplishing the big thing and the fact of the matter is is that with a walk that we are currently walking is all a part of the story of Jesus I started working out 6 years ago something like that I played some baseball in college and so I worked out then and then I stopped playing baseball and then I said I'm not moving my body ever again and I sat around a lot man and I gained a lot of weight and then went to uh I was living in clam at the time went to a CrossFit gym and you can judge me that's fine you don't like CrossFit that's fine I'm a crossfitter I'm just gonna claim it I'm getting more bold as the men as the services go on why I like CrossFit is that there is a coach there to yell at me and tell me what to do and I like that there's a clock to tell me when I'm done those are two of my favorite things and because I need that you guys I need the accountability on my live I need like a coach to text me and ask me why I wasn't there I need come pick me up I need to put my shoes on you know all the stuff because I hate working out man and so I started in this gym and I'm Chi you know I was an athlete so I was kind of competitive and so I get out and there's this workout that we're doing that it requires four or 400 meter runs and then stuff between those runs and I go out on the first run and I'm kind of going a good pace and the coaches out there and he's he's he's on the road we're running outside in the street basically which I was always grateful for I was always hoping I got stuck behind a car or something so I could sit still for a second yeah but we're running on this road and he's coming out and he's going hey great pace that's good try to keep that pace up the whole time that's real fast good job then we come in and we finished up what we're doing in there go out for the next run and I'm slower than I was and he goes okay no that's fine that's fine just try to make that the bottom of what you're doing okay just try to keep that one pace then I go out for the third run it's just a hair slower again and you know he still encouraged me good you know this all right you're doing okay I go out for the fourth one and I get out to where we stop and turn around and I just go like this and I think about the odds of me throwing up and making it through the rest of this workout and I'm doubled over and I'm just thinking real hard about life and my future my lungs and he's out there and everybody's done and there's nothing worse than a coach at the beginning of a workout going this should take about 20 minutes and you ran out for the last round at 30 and so I'm out there and I'm all by myself all alone my wife has officially beaten me by at least 15 minutes and I'm out there and he's he comes walking out and he goes hey you're all right [Laughter] so just been just just can you walk keep moving just keep moving I literally said I can't said yes you can I said I'm not gonna finish and he said well if you stop you won't but even if you just move a little bit I promise you're gonna finish because I'm staying here as long as it takes and I was like oh good you mean you don't have office hours or something a lot of times in life we have to we find these moments where we got to be patient and really what patience requires is that we can't continue to move sometimes we come out in our pace is good and we're running we are accomplishing everything that God has called us to accomplish man we wanted to have kids and bam we had kids and and this financial thing happened and this move worked out and and this vision idea I had man all everything came together right at the right time and it began to work and then sometimes we're a little bit of slower pace we're wondering what happened then sometimes we are doubled over by life exhausted completely blown out figuring like feeling like we're never gonna be able to move again and I got to tell you in those times where you're just waiting for the energy to return and you got to be patient I want to encourage you this is for some of you today you got to keep moving just keep moving no you don't got to be perfect you don't got to have all perfect days and I don't want to come here to you today and you know I know it's classic like Church thing I've been in so many of these services it's the new years service right we're gonna tell you how it's gonna be great in 2019 I do not know if 2019 is gonna be your greatest year it might be your worst it might be your hardest it might be your most painful it might be the greatest you might get married in 2019 you might you might celebrate more in 2019 than you ever have I have no idea what this next year holds in store for you but I do know that God is with you and he sees you and he knows you and if we keep moving I promise you'll reach the desk their God has for you sometimes you gotta crawl sometimes you got to walk and sometimes you can run that's this is one of the reasons I love Church so much it's not because man look how the cool stuff that we get to do in the videos and the music and all that I love staying on the stage I look I love looking out at all you guys cuz I just want to say look we made it again we did it that's 90% of church to me it's looking around everybody going you're here you're alive there's gotta be some kind of hope that still exists inside of your life if you make the decision to be here today some of us are crawling some of us are walking and some of us are running but I promise I promise because God's not going anywhere that we're all gonna finish we're gonna make it we're gonna make it I'll finish up with this and this is gonna be a section of scripture that many of us are really familiar with I was talking to my dad was I went to my parents house for a few days my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's like six months ago and I think he's been experiencing the effects of it for over a year and my dad is I feel like I bring him up every single time I preach here and I'm not sorry cuz I let my dad yeah my dad is my hero and I see a lot of my life through the lens of everything that my dad has done for me in the prayers that he's prayed and his faithfulness because he is the most faithful person that I have ever met in my life he is the most prayerful person he loves Jesus he loves the church the Big C worldwide church more than anybody that I he has Parkinson's he just got back from Africa where he gave away all his money to a bunch of teachers at an orphanage that I've never had a Christmas bonus and he would be so mad that I'm telling you that but I'm gonna say it anyway my dad is amazing and we sat down like pastors do a lot of times don't hang out with pastors were super lame you guys it's really bad um but we sat down and we get excited about this stuff and he was like so what are you preaching on this weekend at Westside told him about it and I said so what are you starting the new year off with sermon series wise we're gonna be said well I'm gonna I'm gonna do this when you go back to basics with a big sermon series your song grace talking about how we can't earn it that what we can rest the impact and the greatness of grace that Jesus offers I was like man that's so good - why is why are you starting off with that and he looked at me and he said because I have a hard time believing it what that's insane you are like everything that you've done in your whole life and how faithfully you are so incredible how could how could this be a doubt for you and then he stopped and he said but this is the thing that keeps me going and it's this story in Matthew chapter 6 it says in verse 25 for this reason I say to you don't be worried about your life as to what you will eat or what you will drink nor for your body as to what you will put on is not life more than food and body more than clothing look at the birds of the air they don't sow or reap or gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them are you not worth much more than they and who view but being where he can add a single hour to his life and why are you worried about clothing observe how the lilies of the field grow they don't toil or spin yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all of his glory clothed himself as one of these but if God so clothes the grass of the field which is alive today tomorrow thrown into the first furnace will he not much more clothe you you have little faith don't worry then saying what will we eat what will we drink or what will we wear for clothing for the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things your heavenly Father knows and that was what my dad said he looked back I mean he said because I know God knows I'm not confident always that I am sufficient by my works and everything that I have accomplished but in the waiting time I am confident that God knows I want you to know today even if you're entering into a time of your life or you feel anonymous or you feel obscure obscure you feel like you're not accomplishing the full destiny at this moment that God has given to you in your life you're not walking in the dream I want you to know that God knows what you need and he will be faithful to complete that thing so you're never alone and I gotta believe that Jesus because he was able to preach this sermon I got to believe that this came from his 30 years of being anonymous that God was speaking to him at that time when he goes and he's baptized by John to bow down the Baptist's and and the voice of God comes to saying this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased I have got to believe that that wasn't the first time he has been hearing that and been sustained by that voice yeah I want you to know today that you can be sustained no matter what life looks like right now or what the beginning of the new year looks like or how much weight you want to lose or how much money you want to make I want you to know that God knows what you need he knows what you need before you need it he knows the destiny that he has in store for you and he knows that it when we keep walking we simply keep walking we will fulfill that destiny amen amen let's pray father God we thank you for this morning when I pray for those who are feeling a little anonymous this morning I pray that know that now more than ever that they wouldn't look to the approval of other people to say ah their approval means that I am now finally walking into my destiny lord I pray that we would know that no matter where we're at in the process that we are walking in that or we are ministers of the gospel we are entrepreneurs we are right now not because the title says so but because you have already said it in us so we're gonna live like you are calling us into that great destiny and we're not willing to settle for anything less so what I pray for encouragement Lord I pray as we head into 2019 Jesus that we wouldn't be ignorant that we wouldn't be taken in by anything but that we would love people and believe the best for this world around us we love you in Jesus name and everybody said amen I love you guys so much seriously Westside you are an incredible incredible group of people it's been more evident this time of year than ever just one quick reminder we are doing first Wednesday on January 2nd we're gonna continue our discussion on the Holy Spirit and talk even more about the direction that Westside is going in here in the new year and in a new season so we would love to have you there to be equipped and just be a part of the conversation at first Wednesday on January 2nd other than that we'll see you next week you're now free to roam about the cabin

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