Revolution in World Missions – Free Book [Weekend Resource]

It is hard to turn down a free book. Especially a book of true stories and insightful teaching melded together.

Why I Recommended A Book Without Reading It

Small confession to make: I haven’t actually read the whole book. But when I went to gauge the quality of the book, I skipped straight to chapter 11 where the author lays out the importance of the gospel. Red flags should go up if a book on missions misses the gospel. This book didn’t. And throughout the book, it solidly exposes false gospels that we may be tempted to embrace.

All that said, don’t neglect to read with discernment.

How to Get Your Free Copy

Three ways get your copy of Revolution in World Missions for free.

First, go order your free copy and wait for it to come in the mail.

After that, you will get a link in your email that will allow you to download the audiobook and PDF version for free as well.

Book Summary

Yohannan lays out his own story and presents biblical insights on world missions.

From the website:

“In this exciting and fast moving narrative, K.P. Yohannan shares how God brought him from his remote Indian village to become the founder of Gospel for Asia, which supports thousands of native missionaries.”

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Apologetics Is Not For Convincing Atheists

A rodeo mentality hinders apologetics. But that is exactly what I had during my battle with skepticism.

When confronting skeptics, I thought there must be an answer so faultless that it would give all opposing arguments whiplash on the takedown. If my brain was sufficiently developed, brute intellectual muscle could hogtie and drag screaming atheists to salvation. The Holy Spirit does need a sidekick, right?

No. He doesn’t. I was missing the whole point of apologetics

The Purpose of Apologetics

Faith is not a product of intellectual strength on the inside or coercive persuasion from the outside. It is a gift from God from start to finish.

Thus the purpose of making a reasoned defense of our beliefs –  apologetics – is not to create faith in someone by arguing them to God. Apologetics is not a trump card, a cowboy’s lasso, or a checkmate move.  No man comes to the Son unless he is drawn by the Father (John 6:44).

The purpose of apologetics is to present a map that ultimately points the doubter toward Jesus Christ. There are two parts to this purpose…

1. Strengthen Believers in Their Faith

Acts 18:24-28 tells a short story of Apollos. He was eloquent, competent in the Scriptures, and instructed in the way of the Lord. He was an accurate and fervent teacher. When he showed up on the scene in Achaia, “he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.” That is Christ-centered apologetics in action, a means God uses to channel His grace to believers in need of strength.

2. Present the Gospel to the Unbeliever

In Acts 17:16-34, we find Paul reasoning with the Stoic philosophers. But Paul wasn’t there just to argue endlessly in the name of apologetics. His mission was to present the gospel, and once that was done, he left.

How to Respond to Those Who Reject the Truth

Why did Paul walk away from the stoics who mocked the gospel? Why didn’t he stay to convince them? Because that is not the goal of apologetics. Apologetics can’t convert people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“The heart must be kept tender and pliable; otherwise agnosticism converts to skepticism. In such a case the value of apologetics is voided, for apologetics is aimed at persuading doubters, not at refuting the defiant. He who demands a kind of proof that the nature of the case renders impossible, is determined that no possible evidence shall convince him.”

The Case for Orthodox Theology, Edward John Carnell

That is not to say that we should just blurt out the gospel and then walk away if no one responds. We are to be gentle and merciful to those who doubt or are blinded to the truth (Jude 22, 2 Timothy 2:23-26), and that might take the form of a long-term discussion with an unbeliever.

Know When to Walk Away

However, when someone is openly hostile to even hearing the truth – which is often evidenced by mockery – apologetics is not the answer. Only the Holy Spirit’s work can enlightened their minds and open their hearts to the truth. It is ok to walk away and seek another opportunity to speak to the truth to a ready heart.

As C.H. Spurgeon put it,

“How many hours in a day ought a man to give to [becoming acquainted with all the phases of modern doubt]? Twenty-five out of the twenty-four would hardly be sufficient…Am I to spend my time in going about to knock his cardhouses over?

“Not I! I have something else to do; and so has every Christian minister. He has real doubts to deal with, which vex true hearts; he has anxieties to relieve in converted souls, and in minds that are pining after the truth and the right; he has these to meet, without everlastingly tilting at windmills, and running all over the country to put down every scarecrow which learned simpletons may set up.”

The Weaned Child, sermon by CH Spurgeon

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My Battle with Skepticism

I left a lot of skid marks across Spring 2009. I denied it as long as I could, but eventually had to face it…

My faith was crumbling under a barrage of rapid-fire attacks hurled by quick-witted skeptics.

A Philosophy Course…for Fun

My struggle started with a college introduction to philosophy course. I was a front-row student, and my hand logged more hours of air time than the average Blue Angel pilot. As I faced swarms of questions without answers, doubts bred and populated my mind like rats.

All of my neatly packaged Sunday school answers were deflected and shredded like Nerf darts by skeptics. With an exhausted quiver and splintered bow, I turned to a familiar face: research.

Attempting to Research My Way Out

As a nationally ranked high school debater, I believed all answers could be found through research. I was raised to think critically and study rigorously. Why shouldn’t I prevail over the skeptics? (20/20 Hindsight Note: Because if prevailing was so easy, brute rational force and cunning logic would have banished skepticism into extinction long ago) So I kept a list of questions and slowly researched them at night after school.

Fuel for the Fire

By mid-semester, I ran into a Christian blogger named Demian Farnworth who was running a series of interviews with atheists at his blog. My close interaction with online skeptics in the blog’s comment section was fuel for the fire. As the atheists out gunned me in every exchange, I started losing sleep over a surging riptide of questions. I had amassed a file of nearly 400 articles – all written by skeptics – that I intended to refute.


But I couldn’t do it. 25 out of 24 hours a day would not have been sufficient to craft refutations to the skeptics. They spun me around in their technical lingo and smeared my face into questions I couldn’t swallow.

I wasn’t willing to say there was not a God, but…how do you figure out how to stand up when everything you used to stand on was pulled out from under you?

Broken But Not Without Hope

I was finally broken. I had no hope that I could hold my faith together by my own strength. Nor could I create the faith in my heart that I needed. I wasn’t hopeless, I just gave up hope in me.

God, in His great faithfulness, graciously crossed my path with Al Hartman. Al made noteworthy appearances in the comment section at Demian’s blog and always spoke truth with God-given clarity. That was what I needed.

Jude 22: “Have mercy on those who doubt…”

Al was patient, and brought the Truth to bear on many of my questions. One key statement by Al marked the turning point in my crisis of faith.

I wrote,

“Assuming a God exists, how do we figure out which one does without contradicting ourselves?” [Because the logic I was using to “prove” God exists was the same logic every other religion uses to argue for their gods. And if I reject their gods and logic but accept my God by the same logic, isn’t that a contradiction?]

Al responded:

“’Assuming, Brother?  Figure out, Daniel?  Contradicting ourselves? Have you come to such a crossroads, where you must decide today who you will follow? …But I ask you, whose reputation is at stake– yours or God’s?  For we walk by faith, not by sight [i.e. not by assumption, calculation, contradiction, etc.].  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I prayed long and hard that night after reading that email from Al. I’ve never prayed so hard in my life. It was a desperate prayer if ever there was one. I cried out to the Living God to preserve my feeble faith. That’s all I wanted. Preservation. Just get me out of the wasteland alive and don’t let me lose my God. Mark 9:24 summed up my plea: “I believe, help my unbelief.”

Things began to turn quickly after I stopping pretending reason and logic were sufficient supports for faith. I knew my faith wasn’t a result of academic knowledge or natural aptitude. Faith is a God-given gift from start to finish. It was a gift God poured out on me generously from that day forward, causing all of the arguments from skeptics to disintegrate.

“The mind is never so enlightened that there are no misgivings. With these evils of our nature, faith maintains a perpetual conflict, in which conflict it is often sorely shaken and put to great stress; but still it conquers, so that believers may be said to be [in spite of their own weakness, most secure].” – John Calvin

The Aftermath

My resolution was simple. Since I can’t know everything in order to refute everything, I will know the one thing that matters: Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). That’s it. I want to know Jesus Christ, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Plowing into Romans

In the following months, I plowed into Romans. The gospel of Jesus Christ shone brightly. Prayer also became an even greater delight, a blessing that resulted from God granting me clearer eyes of faith to see how real He is. Prayer and being struck by God’s reality go hand in hand.

My writing has reflected these recent events. My passion is to see God’s people walk by faith and not by sight, with confident hope and conviction to live life in light of His unseen reality.

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A Christian Blogger’s Desire [How to Pray for Me]

I ran across a Puritan prayer I had arbitrarily used as a bookmark. The prayer is called, “A Minister’s Preaching,” taken from Valley of Vision.

I adapted the prayer for preachers into a prayer for writers so I could pray it for myself and a few blogger friends of mine, Demian Farnworth, Don Dudley, and Jonathan Woodward.

This prayer captures my heart’s desire when I write…or at least what it ought to be. It also expresses in Puritan language what I pray God accomplishes through my writing.

The Puritan prayer doesn’t directly cover some specifics though. For example, I’d like this blog to have a clearly defined and specifically targeted mission, and sometimes that’s lacking. I also hope one day this blog might be a means God uses to connect me with a full time job, a book writing deal, or some other opportunity to serve God with what He gives me just as I try to do where I am now.

That’s the stuff I pray for. And Don Duddley over at You See Dry Bones prays for similar things. And I would love to have you join with me in prayer. Would you bring these requests before your church, small group, family, or where ever else you gather to pray?

A Writer’s Prayer

My Master God,

I desire to write today,
but go weak and needy to my task;

Yet I long that people might be edified
with divine truth,
that an honest testimony might be borne
for thee;

Give me assistance in writing and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and unction.

Present to my view things pertinent to
my subject,
with fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a feeling sense of the things I write,
and grace to apply them to men’s consciences.

Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over
my performance.

Help me to offer a testimony for thyself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting
thy mercy.

Give me freedom to open the sorrows of thy people,
and to set before them comforting considerations.

Attend with power the truth written,
and awaken the attention of slothful readers.

May thy people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted,
and help me to use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings
that men might be made holy.

I myself need thy support, comfort, strength, holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of thy grace,
and be able to do something for thee;

Give me then refreshment among thy people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter
in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy
a Redeemer,
or be harsh in treating of Christ’s death,
its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.

And keep me in tune with thee
as I do this work.

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How To Meditate: Series Recap

Why was this series important? Look no further than King David.

Meditation on God’s Word and prayer were the secret to David’s vibrant spiritual life and keen insight. David exemplifies properly approaching Scripture through meditation and prayer for all who would seek to draw near to God in faith.

1. How did David get more insight than his teachers? It wasn’t because he read more books…

David said that he had more insight than all of his teachers not because he read more, but because he meditated on God’s Word (Psalm 119:99). David is a testimony: insight is gained by meditation, not by floods of unprocessed information.

2. Where did David find hope that he would be able to learn and live the truth he saw in God’s Word?

David made it clear that his trust was in the Lord. He prayed that his eyes would be opened to see truth and that the Holy Spirit would lead him live obediently in God’s will (Psalm 119:18, Psalm 143:10).

David was fixated on God in meditation of God’s Word, and David had a heart for prayer because he understood he was inadequate apart from the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Series Recap:

1. 15 Rock-Solid Reasons to Meditate on God’s Word

2. We Need to Meditate And Get More Insight, Not More Input

3. How to Meditate: 3 Steps of Aggressive Mental Engagement

4. A Model of the 3-Step Process of Meditation

5. Embracing the Ministry of the Holy Spirit As We Meditate

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Embracing the Ministry of the Holy Spirit As We Meditate

Our approach to Scripture is usually defunct.

First problem: We read the Bible but gain no insight from the flood of information.
Second problem: Even if we gain insight, we are unable to live it out.

Meditation is a tool for gaining more insight from input, but insight is only useful for holiness if we can live it out. So even if we solve the fist problem with a three-step process of meditation, the second problem still glares us in the face. We still cannot fix our lack of sin-slaughtering love for God.

The difficulty with learning and living spiritual truth is that it differs from learning the steps to work a simple arithmetic problem. As Dr. Kevin Washburn writes, learning and applying a new skill is a five-part cognitive process. However, living out spiritual truth requires a heart change because we are naturally born with an whole-hearted inclination toward evil. Because we were created to employ our minds, we should not neglect the cognitive process. But because we are a fallen creation, we also need need new birth and then regeneration by the Holy Spirit in order to live in accordance with God’s commands.

Since we are wholly inadequate in the flesh, we must turn to the ministry of the Spirit.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian learning and living?

Here’s what Scripture teaches:

We are sanctified (made to progressively be and act holy) in truth (John 17:17)…

The Holy Spirit guides us in truth (John 16:3) and enables understanding (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)…

Godliness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23) and by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13-14)…

What we believe shapes the way we live (Example: we are filled with fear because of our lack of faith in who God is) (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20)…

Sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth leads to salvation, and neither of those happen apart from God’s choosing us (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The Bottom Line: Summary of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry

The Holy Spirit enables us to clearly see truth in such a way that we believe. The evidence that we have believed the truth is that we put to death sinful deeds and the fruits of the Spirt are produced in us (sanctification). Only the Holy Spirit can work such a change in us.

Without meditation, we will not be able to fill our mind with insight from Scripture.

Without the Spirit, meditation will only lead to head knowledge and not belief that transforms our life and motivate obedience from the heart.

As John Piper so aptly put it,

“Today the Spirit still instructs us by the Word of Scripture and we ought to pray earnestly for an outpouring of God’s enlightening Spirit so that the Scriptures really live for us and become intensely personal.”

Do you desire insight find insight in Scripture that will forever change the way you walk before the Lord? Do the same thing every single great man of faith has done through history: Make a habit of prayerfully mediating on God’s Word in humble reliance upon the Spirit’s fruit-producing work.

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Driven to Prayer: Our Extremities are the Lord’s Opportunities [Weekend Resource]

Usually I reserve the Weekend Resource slot for a post covering a website, book review, free download, or some other resource that may be of use to you in your pursuit of the God pursing you.

Other weekends I post a series of quotes or a short article written by someone else. That’s what this is. A brother in the Lord, Al Hartman, posted the following piece from Spurgeon in the comment section of a previous post on prayer and fighting sin. I don’t want you to miss this.

An Excerpt from Morning and Evening, by Charles Spurgeon

Beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ (Matthew 14:30)

Sinking times are praying times with the Lord’s servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink, his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry, though late, was not too late.

In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox runs to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy-seat for safety. Heaven’s great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with full sail.

Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition that Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter.

Our extremities are the Lord’s opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us, the ear of Jesus hears, and with Him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but His swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? Let us then lift up our souls unto our Savior, and we may rest assured that He will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing, Jesus can do everything; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.
~C. Spurgeon / A. Begg

Click here to download the devotionals for the month of January out of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening.

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Despite Taming Much of the World, We Still Can’t Tame Ourselves

The overarching problem with science, economics, and any other discipline set on taming the world is not that we cannot make progress in subduing the natural world. It is that we are unable to tame our own hearts.

Apart from Christ

Apart from Christ, we are left with a futile undertaking. We self-destructively become our own hinderance to ruling the earth. As long as man is a slave to sin at the very core of his being, his every attempt to bring order to the world is ultimately twisted by greed, a loveless heart, and a lack of self-control to serve his own chaotic purposes.

Cunning Offense, No Defense

A prime example: We can come up with elaborate economic theories and a complex banking system complete with regulatory oversight, but we cannot rid ourselves of the greed in the hearts of men that strewed the economic landscape with the wreckage of failed corporations. In the aftermath, we find ourselves asking if we have control at all. And if we do have control, what do we have control of? Certainly not our hearts. Despite our cunning offenses, we have no defense against the treachery of our own hearts apart from salvation in Jesus Christ.

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A Prayer-Producing, Sin-Slaughtering Love for God

Do you have the wherewithal to repel the muscular attacks of the devil or the discipline to flee temptation like a bolt of greased lightening?

There’s a diagnostic test to see if that kind of power has been granted to you: Take a look at your prayer life.

“Now what is the cause of most backslidings? I believe, as a general rule, one of the chief causes is neglect of private prayer. You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world.” – J.C. Ryle

Prayer Does Not Keep Us From Sin

Prayer has no special power to keep us from sin. But both prayerlessness and sinfulness have the same cause: a lack of love for God. Thus our prayer reveals our heart, and the condition of our heart determines our ability to fight sin.

“Besides, this mind (speaking of the pious mind) restrains itself from sinning, not out of dread of punishment alone; but, because it loves and reveres God as Father, it worships and adores him as Lord. Even if there were no hell, it would still shudder at offending him alone.” – John Calvin

Prayer is a Barometer of the Heart

Prayer is a barometer of the heart. If our heart is filled with a robust love for God, our life will be filled with focused prayer and victory over sin. If our heart is not filled with love for God, it should not surprise us if we are both prayerless and addicted to sin. We must cling with hope to the message of the gospel, because it is God who grants to us a heart increasingly filled with prayer-producing, sin-slaughtering love for God.

After doing a guest post over at Fallen and Flawed on secret sin, I couldn’t help but see its connection to prayer.

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Meditation: Modeling the 3-Step Process

Ready to see the three-step process of meditation applied to a passage?

Let’s dig in to Hebrews 11:24-27.

Three Steps for Meditation:

1. Sort Out the Text
2. Zero in on Key Concepts
3. Connect Concepts with Other Concepts and Life

Step #1: Sort Out the Text

Start sorting out the text. The more sorting you do, the more learning you’ll retain later.

Pinpoint Key Words

Read Hebrews 11:24-27 in context (because you know to never read a single Bible verse). The word “faith” stands out like a steeple above countryside pines. Every mention of faith in the chapter ties back in as an illustration of Hebrews 11:1, the key verse. It’s a good idea to working through the chapter and mark the word “faith” with a colored pencil, highlighter, or pen so that it stands out visually.

Ask Questions in Meditation

Now ask a few questions to help you digest the text as you meditate. Take time to mull it over. Why did it take faith for Moses to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter? Or, to use the words of the key verse, the definition of faith: In what way did Moses show an assurance of of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen?

Because Egypt was in his face and in his grasp. To reject such tangible, immediate pleasure took a rock-solid conviction that the future reward in Christ was a greater hope than the fleeting pleasures of sin in Egypt.

Step #2: Zero in on Key Concepts

As you meditate, distill Hebrews 11:24-27 into a statement that embodies the concept of the passage. A concept is a clear, concise statement of a truth from a text.

You might come up with a concept from the text that looks something like this:

“Faith in the realness and value of the eternal allows us to overcome sinful pleasure on earth, which is fleeting and of lesser value.”

The Reason Your Brain Needs Concepts [Patterns]

Dr. Washburn, who holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, writes:

“The term conceptual blending aptly describes elaboration [elaboration: connecting concepts/patterns]. The brain receives and sorts sensory data causing patterns to emerge. The patterns direct the brain to search its long-term memory stores for previous experiences that illustrate similar patterns…Once recalled, the previous experience provides a reference point for further thinking about the newly received data. Understanding develops as a student recognizes relevant connections between the reference point and the new data, and ‘blends’ these ideas.”

Word of Caution on Concepts and the 3-Step Method

Concepts must be grounded in truth from the text. You want to find what is in the text instead of interpreting the text to match what you want to find. This meditation method takes into account the way the brain best learns and remembers, but there are many varied ways to meditate and accomplish the same thing (and many kinds of people with different needs).

Step #3: Connect the Concept with Other Concepts and Life

The last step is to start making connections between different Scriptures (cross references), and then your life. Each connection you make links more concepts together so that they can blend and shed light on each other. The Biblical cross references pop to mind and/or you may dig for them.

1. Connect Scripture with Scripture and Blend the Concepts

We can link what we learned in Hebrews about Moses’ faith to what we see in Daniel 3:12.

– Moses was able to turn down earthly pleasures because he confidently hoped in more valuable eternal things.

– Daniel’s three friends would not bow down to worship another god and accepted earthly pain as a consequence (1 Peter 3:14-16 teaches this concept as well). The three men evidently had the same value system as Moses, but with a subtle difference in application.

That subtle difference leads us to an important insight…

2. Blend the Two Connected Concepts

Valuing eternal things allows us to not only reject seemingly positive earthly things like the pleasures of Egypt (Moses), but also to accept seemingly negative earthly things like the persecution of Babylon’s fiery furnace (as with Daniel’s three friends).

The concepts from those two passage blend quite well and offer additional insight. (Actually, Hebrews 11:25 embodies the same concept as Daniel 3:12, but I did not see it until just now while connecting the two passages and writing this post).

3. Connect Scripture with Life

Be both intentional and specific in finding and connecting concepts from Scripture to your life. How does this concept specifically connect to what you’ve seen in the past in your own life? If this concept is applied to your life now, what specifically would change?

My Personal Application of the Concepts

If truly believed, the truth of these Scriptures banishes the fear I may have to verbally share my faith. The source of that fear: I value the earthly pleasure of man’s approval and risk losing that if I open my mouth, and I am afraid I might be ridiculed for my faith. The concept illustrated by Moses and Daniel shows that if I value eternal things, I will not fear losing earthly pleasure or enduring earthly pain.

Did you see how that all happened?

The two concepts link together across Hebrews 11:24-27 and Daniel 3:12 and blended, offering additional insight you might have never gotten had you looked at a single passage. Then the Word broke uncomfortably into life and brought conviction. As a result, insight – not just information – is gained and the Bible’s cohesive message is increasingly visualized by additional connections.

The last post in this series will deal with the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing heart-level change once the truth has taken hold in our minds.

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