Church

And thus begins a new chapter in my life.

Posted on February 6, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends, Money, Music, Theology |

To my friends, family, my old church family at Pinnacle, I am asking for your prayers. Today begins a new and exiting chapter in my life. I will be doing the very thing that I didn’t want to do after I moved to Atlanta. Today, I re-enter the full time work force.  Not at a church or with a band, but with a Marketing firm here in Atlanta, Dynamic Marketing Concepts. Many of you know that I moved to Atlanta five months ago with the hope and desire of playing music full time. Apart from the will of God, there have been a few different things that have inhibited this from happening. First and foremost, I think it’s the economy. As a keyboard player, I am usually the first thing to get cut from a band, and the last thing to get added. Secondly, I haven’t been apart of the church I go to now for very long- 5 months; the time we have been down here. My church is intentional about creating great environments and using the best talent that they have at their disposal. Being that I just haven’t been there a super long time, as other players have, I haven’t received many chancess to play or lead worship yet, but opportunities are always growing. Some of you know also that I have been approached by a church to be their worship pastor. This is something that I am still considering, but God has not brought clarity to the situation yet, therefore, Susan and I haven’t moved yet. We are quite content serving where we are. Don’t forget also, that there was a chance that I could get a call back from Richie McDonald to play with him, but this too didn’t happen.

So you wonder… If I were asked by someone, anyone, “Josh, do you think you failed? Do you think you made a bad move by leaving your comfort zone and everything you knew to move somewhere to take a chance and doing what you love full time?” To that I would say absolutely not. I don’t believe I have failed. A pastor that I respect very greatly, Pastor Steven Furtick,  said this- “It’s better to take a risk and fail, than to never take that jump, and wonder what could have been.” (That’s a Josh Fowler paraphrase.) So, I do not think that I have failed at all. I think that God is not through with me, and in some ways, he may be just beginning. Am I going to be doing the thing that I am MOST passionate about for a little while? No. At least not on a full time basis. Am I going to be learning a lot, and continue to be shaped daily by my creator? Absolutely! My journey in music and ministry isn’t over, and in fact, I’ll still be doing it part time with a few outside engagements a year. Right now, though, I have to focus on paying off debt. Debt is what has inhibited me from being able to do music in a full time capacity. Take note- God’s word isn’t messing around when it says that “The borrower is slave to the lender. You cannot serve both God and money.” It’s true, and nothing reenforces that point more that when you don’t have any work, but the bills still continue to pile up. Sometimes when you do something risky, you have to be able to not make any money sometimes, and be OK with it. Unfortunately in many ways, I squandered that opportunity in my late teens by making poor financial decisions. In retrospect though, it is going to be a good thing. God has already used me to be able to help some people with their finances, and for that I am grateful.

So for me today, it’s suit and tie. Sharp haircut. Clean shave everyday. Polished shoes. Big elevators, glass office buildings, new horizons, and new challenges. It’s stepping out of my comfort zone, to better fulfill the obligation that God has entrusted me with- to provide for my family. To my Pinnacle Family- Thank you guys for supporting me in making one of the scariest moves that I have ever made in my life. Thanks for enjoying my music, and putting up with my A.D.D. And to the staff there- Thank you for believing in me. To my the rest of my friends and family this is not over. I believe that one day, God will give me the opportunity to minister for him with music full time. It’s all about His time, for His purpose, in His will, for His glory, and For his renown. 

Today, I ask for your prayers. That everyday in this job, that God will keep me from temptation. That as a businessman, I will be above reproach. Pray for me that I can set the standard, and that people can look to the guy who calls himself a follower of Christ, and they would see a good example of a hardworking ethical man who sets the standard in the way of drive, excellence, and achievements. I pray that I can be Jesus to people who don’t know him in the work force. 

Thanks again for your prayers, and check back here daily for updates and creative thoughts.

For the Glory of God,

Josh Fowler

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He finally did it!!! (And a few other things)

Posted on February 4, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends, Money, Music, Worship Leading |

Alright, your friend and mine, Jonathan Blaylock finally started a blog! You can check it out here. He will be sure to have some good thoughts on life, culture, church, and everything else. Jonathan and I have known each other for years, and it’s been a cool journey hanging out with him! 

Also, I added John Acuff to my blog roll. His site is filled with stuff that everyone will enjoy, and, it’s hilarious! You can check his stuff out here

Finally, Kristian Stanfill has released his new EP entitled “Attention.” It is awesome!!! Click on the link to get it in iTunes!

 

Kristian Stanfill "Attention" EP

Kristian Stanfill "Attention" EP

 

 

Well, that’s about all I got for today. Keep praying for me about the car. Still no good news.

Josh

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Old Testament Vs. New Testament- What do we believe?

Posted on January 28, 2009. Filed under: Church, Politics, Theology |

So if this is your first time reading this Blog, I’d like to welcome you to more than just a blog- It’s a conversation. People learning and growing in what they believe, why they believe it, and how current issues affect us, and out moral stances. Last week, I posted a blog post entitled “Abortion- a very sad debate,” in which I criticized some extreme anti-abortionists on their methods of protest and demonstration. I accompanied it by a video that showed these people holding their signs, and when questioned about the consequences of of the females who went through with abortion, they didn’t have very good answers. I mentioned in the post that my stance was pro-life, but asked the question of what we were doing to meet the needs of these women who were facing the choice of keeping a child or terminating a pregnancy. This article led to many comments followed by some debate about abortion, life, theology, absolute truth, science, and faith. In the most recent comments, the article has shifted fro abortion to some of the latter subjects previously mentioned. That being said, I have decided to start a new post shifting the conversation to the subject of the Bible. 

Cara, a friend from high school, has chimed in on our conversation. She mentioned earlier that she was glad that she hadn’t been pushed to the side or alienated from the discussion because her beliefs are different. So Cara, if you are reading this, you are welcome! I always welcome the opportunity to have these conversations. I feel like it educates me, and also helps me to understand that if I believe what I say I believe, and truly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, I will “love my neighbor as myself” which in a practical way in the situation of these conversations means that I am going to love other people, and engage in conversation with them, even if I do not totally agree with them. So here is the deal. If you are Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, hindu, Agnostic, New age or whatever. You are welcome to read this site, comment on what you see, and join in the conversation about faith, the Bible, and the supernatural. 

Before I present the next questions, it is important for any new readers to understand where I stand on these issues. Hopefully in knowing this, it will help you understand the reason behind the answer. Put quite simply, I believe in the literal person of Jesus Christ. I belief he came to Earth, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, faced the same temptation that you and I face, died on a cross, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended to heaven. I believe that he is coming again one day, and that through the holy spirit, I have a relationship with him that can never be severed. Yea, this is all based on faith, and  what I believe to be truth through God’s word, the holy bible.

So here are the questions. Is it true that there are some things in the Old Testament of the Bible that no longer apply, or, that still do apply? Is everything in the New Testament applicable? What reasons to people have to believe that the Bible is the literal, inherent word of God if they are not Christians? I have been asked to give clarity to these issues. Because I am not nearly as trained biblically as I would like to be on this subject, I am going to invite my friends Pastor Dennis Thurman, Michael Seay (BA Moody Bible Institute) and Jonathan Blaylock (In school at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute and Liberty University) to help answer these tough questions. 

Chime in fellas! For all those who had questions, enjoy. I will be commenting and moderating.

One final note to all who read and comment on this blog- Please remember that we are all human beings, and being such, we have feelings. And don’t give me that bit about the Gospel is offensive. I realize that. That is used to many times to excuse our harsh tones and arrogant attitudes. Please be civil. To all those who aren’t Christians, yes, I know that we seem like close minded jerks. I know you’ve had bad experiences at church and with mean people who don’t even know why they believe what they believe. However, I would like to think that my fellow Christians who read and comment on this blog would do so in love and for the purpose of bringing glory to our God, not self promoting or anything else, so if possible, try and stick around! Bottom line guys- just be nice, and everybody will have a great time!

Blessings and peace,

Josh

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Charge for ministry?

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Church, Money, Music, Theology, Worship Leading | Tags: , , |

In your job, what is more important to you? If you are a speaker, would you rather make $30,000 a year getting $500 per event, or $40,000 a year, getting less per gig, but getting more gigs because you are affordable?

Is it inappropriate for people in ministry to charge a price? Or, should we do a “love offering” taking a step in faith that God will provide our needs? 

Is charging for your services a way of charging for the gospel?

 People in Ministry please comment! I would like to see some feedback and discussion on this post. If you know someone who could read this, pass it on…

Josh

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Tomorrow.

Posted on January 24, 2009. Filed under: Church, Money, Music, Self Help, Worship Leading |

What’s up world? Has it been a good Saturday? It’s been cool for us. Pretty laid back, no schedule, you know the drill. I gotta do some minor cleaning stuff around the house tonight, do some laundry, and practice for tomorrow morning. Now I know before I write any of this that I write to a community of people who believe in many different things as far as God and religion are concerned. One of the greatest things about being a Christian is the fact that there is no human needed to talk to God. I talk to him freely, and openly whenever I please, about whatever I please. It could be hardship, situational, for direction, or just to give thanks. But I do it every day. It’s part of who I am.

As part of that daily prayer, I am asking God to give me direction. Susan and I are going to be making some pretty big decisions about our future very soon. Who knows? We may be somewhere else down the road. God only knows. Seriously! If you read this, I am asking that you pray for me that God would give me the wisdom to do what’s right, the courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. That’s all we can pray for.

I hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to re-opening the conversation next week.

Josh

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The hardest I’ve ever laughed.

Posted on January 14, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends |

Ok, So I am not sure why this is, but I think that people getting mildly to moderately injured is one of the funniest things ever. I have found, however, that women usually do not find this sort of thing funny at all. But if you are someone who finds the temporary pain and suffering of someone else due to clumsiness, acts of God, friend’s carelessness, or stupidity, read on. I would personally file this one under the “acts of God” category. Let me tell you, if YOU could have been there to see it, you would’ve thought that it was an act of God as well.

So somewhere in the neighborhood of about 8 years ago, I was a skinny, dorky, acne covered white boy who really wasn’t athletically gifted, but nevertheless enjoyed sports. I guess I’m still skinny and dorky.. And A.D.D. Well anyways, at the time, I went to a church in Candler, NC called Pole Creek Baptist Church, and the church had just hired a new youth pastor, Ryan Kilby a couple of years earlier. Ryan hadn’t been at the church very long, (maybe a year or so) when he began taking us on winter retreats, fall weekend things, summer camps and so forth. By this time, I think me and my buddies were juniors, possibly seniors, and we just loved any opportunity to get away and hang out. There were five or six of us that when it came to our youth group, we were virtually inseparable. It was me, Travis Campbell, Derrick McCarson, Nick McCoy, Clint McCoy, and Wes McCurry. As a group, most of us had very little in common, but we were united by our love of laughter, especially Travis, Derrick and I. I can’t even tell you some of the things we laughed at. We had more inside jokes than I can remember. Everything from stupid gestures, to weird voices, to… anything. We could find any and everything funny. Rarely were the three of us ever together when we weren’t laughing at something. 

So here we were, away for the weekend, enjoying our free time. One of the coolest things about this particular location that we were at was that it had a pretty decent gym. It had lots of basketball goals, and plenty of room for everyone to spread out and do their own thing. Ryan had just found the key to the closest where all of the basketballs and other equipment were kept. As soon has he opened the closet up, we realized that there were plenty of items to keep us occupied, not just basketballs. There were jump-ropes, rubber balls, (the kind that you barely nudge with your foot and they launch like 50 feet) and all kinds of other stuff that I really can’t even remember. As the closet door opened, most guys went to grab a basketball. Not me. I sucked at basketball, and still do really. In fact, to say that I suck at basketball would be the understatement of the year. So I grabbed the kickball, and began to kick it. Against walls, back to myself, to others, ect… 

So let me set the scene up for you. I am on one side of the gym, still playing with a kick ball. About half of our youth group had went somewhere else to hang out, so suddenly the gym felt more spacious. Derrick, who was great at basketball, was down on the other end no doubt practicing his near perfect form, and right across from him on the other side of the court was Nick McCoy. Nick was a different guy. He wasn’t the best looking kid in our grade, but he sure thought he was. Great guy, but could give tiger woods a run for his money when it came to cockiness. (O yeah, he played golf a lot too.) So here I am just randomly kicking this ball, when for some reason, deep down inside, I feel the inner urge to announce to Derrick what I was getting ready to do. I yelled across the gym “Hey Derrick, check this out!…” 

*******(Now I promise, I am not fabricating the next part of this story at all.)********

Derrick briefly stops what he’s doing, only to look over and see me kick this ball harder than I have ever kicked any ball in my life. To this day, I’m sure David Beckham would be proud. The ball left the end of my foot propelled though the air with the accuracy of a missile, missing literally dozens of rafters and A/C ducts in the ceiling, coming back down, and NAILED, NAILED, N-I-A-L-E-D, Nick McCoy right in the face!!!!! I mean RIGHT IN THE FACE. Derrick and I both immediately lost our composure! I remember Derrick taking off in a very brief, dead sprint before falling on the ground and laughing so hard uncontrollably that saliva began to drip from his wide open mouth. Nick of course thought that this was on purpose and wanted to kill me, which was even funnier, because Derrick and I both knew that with my athletic ability (or lack thereof) there is no way that could have ever been planned. In an attempt to show you what that moment was like, I found this video on youtube, and have posted it for your enjoyment. (It’s only 4 seconds long)

So what’s the hardest YOU’VE ever laughed?

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Interesting thoughts on the future of worship in the church.

Posted on January 9, 2009. Filed under: Church, Music, Theology, Worship Leading | Tags: , , |

This morning, as I was reading the posts from my twitter site, I was reading some of what Scott Wagner had written, (I am a follower of his on twitter, which if you don’t use twitter, you need to check it out here.) Anyways, as I was reading scotts post, (or tweets, I think as some people call them,) I came across his son and my friend, Austin’s blog. Now, I don’t talk to Austin on a regular basis, nor do we have our cell numbers in each other’s phones, but Austin and I have played together a couple of times, and Austin is a young man that I consider beyond his years both in playing and in his walk with God. I read what Austin wrote, and for your convenience, I have posted it below: (Which I just figured out, he got from another site. Still, very profound.)

What is the future of worship?

In general, I believe the future of worship is really getting back to what worship truly is.  We have settled into this 4-5 song “worship” set with an offering song and an invitational song.  Why do we have to be so structured?  Why can’t there be change?

A definition from WordNet 3.0 says: “Love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess; venerate as an idol.”  Worshipping through music provides a way to express our emotions.  The lyrics speak to how we feel about God.  They are meant to show how much we love him.  We don’t need a big production to worship God.  We don’t need a huge band, orchestra, or choir.  We don’t need all the lighting equipment and sound equipment.  We can worship without all of that.  We can worship with only our voices.  This doesn’t mean that all these things are wrong, they are just not a necessity.  Sound and lighting equipment allow for a larger number of people to worship together, but are not a foundation for worship. 

We get so worked up over all the technical aspects of worship that we miss the whole entire point: this is praise for the God who created us.  This is my biggest struggle with worship today.  Because I play drums/percussion, I want everything to be musically perfect.  I want the technical things to be right.  It’s very hard for me to get past that.  (There is something to be said about preparation and having the talent neccessary to perform and lead others in worship.  You cannot get up on stage to lead others and worship and not know anything about your instrument.)

To go back, why can’t there be change?  Why can’t we add something new to worship?  I remember at places I’ve played that we’ve spent so much time worrying about making everything so perfect that we forget to bring in new music.  We push off new songs because they’re not at a high enough quality.  They’re not perfect.  Does it really have to be perfect?  In most instances, people playing at a church are volunteers, not professional musicians.  And more importantly, it’s not a concert.  You’re not charging people to hear you play music, so in general, they won’t leave if it’s not perfect music.  If they do, well they weren’t there for the right reasons. 

Stop worrying about perfection and just worship.  Be authentic. It’s amazing to see people’s reaction to someone who is truly authentic.  People just worship full on. Some of my best worship experiences have been, if I’m playing, when I feel completely unprepared because I just go in and worship.  I just give it to God and play for him.  I’m not worried if I didn’t play everything perfect.  I worshiped.  If worship leaders just worshiped instead of stressing over details, amazing things could happen.

So when will something change? 

When we will stop putting on a show for the “audience” and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ?

(Before I say anything, the following thoughts are not all necessarily the thoughts and beliefs or North Point Community Church, or it’s partners, staff or attenders.)
Ok, so here are my thoughts on this. I agree with the premise of this post. I think that we need to realize what true worship is, and understand that when all the fluff his gone, it is about worshiping a holy and sovereign God, and being fully vulnerable to him and what his will is for us. 
But here is something else I am thinking… What does the future of worship look like for non-believers? Now, I know what you’re saying… You’re probably saying “Josh… Are you hearing yourself? Non-believers can’t worship!!” Well, I partly agree with that. I believe that they can’t experience true intimacy with the true living God in their sinful state, but the truth is that we all ascribe worth to something. It could be our job, money, or even some sort of addiction, but we all worship something. Coming full circle back to the question, what DOES the future of worship look like for non-believers. Allow me to give my thoughts. 
I go to a church that is very heavy on professionalism, production, and the fluff, if you want to call it that. It’s not that we put emphasis on it, but we do use it as a tool to create irresistible environments where people can bring their unchurched friends. We’re not seeker sensitive, seeker driven, seeker aware, or seeker anything for that matter. We kinda can’t stand that wor, seeker, because if you think about it, none of us really seek God in our sinful state, he seeks us. Dead people don’t try and figure out how to come back to life. So, anyways, our environments are designed to allow everyone to have a unforgettable experience on Sunday mornings. For believers, that could be great worship. For the “non-churched,” that could be good music. Either way, it reaches both. The believers walk away saying that that really experienced the presence of God. Non-believers walk away often saying that they liked the service and want to come back, some even saying that they can’t explain why. (I would say that’s the work of the holy spirit.)
We put this high emphasis on excellence because we feel that God is honored when put our best foot forward. When we are prepared, the spirit of God works. Does he need our help? Absolutely not. But funny enough, the holy spirit often shows up when we have done our homework, and the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. 
With all of that being said, what could we do differently? Is it bad to approach worship from an all-inclusive standpoint? Is it wrong that while good music can be used to connect to God for some people, while for others it’s just good music, and a sweet environment? And while we’re on it, does the future of worship only include music? Is it possible to have another form of self expression that we can use to connect with God that could unite hundreds, thousands, or even millions to a new level of worship?
Comment.

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Conviction, magic, and steel guitars

Posted on October 21, 2008. Filed under: Church, Friends, Theology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Just a few of the words that describe my Sunday. Explain that title, you say? Well, here goes

Con·vic·tion- (kən-ˈvik-shən) Function:noun

1: the act or process of convicting of a crime especially in a court of law 2a: the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth b: the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth3 a: a strong persuasion or belief b: the state of being convicted.
So,let me put this in the proper context for you so that you can understand where I am coming from. You see, I am a Christian, which means I have an eternal (forever) lasting relationship with Jesus Christ. My personal belief is that his death on the cross paid for all the sins that I have ever committed or ever will commit. (Ok just bear with me a second, I’m not going totally old school here.) So, if Jesus paid a price for my sins, then that means I was bought for a price, and I owe a debt that I can never repay. So, what does that mean? My relationship with God is not something I earned or deserved. I can never be anything great on my own merit. For me to be anything, (or anything that God called me to be) I have to accept the gift of salvation, or in better tearms, enter the relationship with my heavenly father that God has called me to. (Yes, God really did draw me to him) So what does this have to do with conviction? When we accept God’s gift of Salvation (Which by the way wasn’t free, there was definitely a cost, we just didn’t pay it, and there is even more of a cost. Paul refers to it as picking up your cross and following Jesus,) the holy spirit lives inside of our soul, and points out stuff in our life that has no place being there. That is conviction. You know, that feeling deep inside when you let the guy who cut you off in traffic absolutely have it! Or, when you go to that site, and look at that thing you know you shouldn’t look at. Or what about those things you do when no one else is around, that you can manage to forget about, yet if everyone knew about you would be horribly ashamed? Conviction. CONVICTION. Don’t run from it, embrace it! It’s of God. Should we live in guilt? No, but can it be a good thing? ABSOLUTELY!! So if we were having this conversation face to face, I fel like your next question would be “Josh, what is it that YOU’VE been convicted about?” at which point I would look at you and say “Well gee freakin thanks for asking me that on my blog where the whole world can read it!!” (Just kidding, sort of.) You wanna know what I’ve been convicted of? Well here goes. The things I say when no one is around. The way I address my wife when I lose patience. The illusion that I display when I’m in front of the cool kids. My “cuss words” that “really aren’t that bad, because after all, who made them bad?” ) To me, that’s kind of like asking the question “who told you that you were naked?” My challenge to you is that you would not run from conviction, but that you would embrace it. Step into the light. Step out into that place that God wants you to live. Jeff henderson said it correctly when he said that (and I paraphrase) “God didn’t come to die for the illusion of you, he came to die for the real you.”
 
2.) Magic and steel guitars- At North Point yesterday, I saw one of my good friends, Earl South, do some great stage magic. Actually, have a look at this freak of nature for yourself:
As far as the steel guitars are concerned, another good friend of mine, Jeremy Moyers played steel guitar in the worship set yesterday at Buckhead church. You can check him out at moyerssoundsolutions.com
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today. Would you mind leaving me a comment and telling me something that God has convicted you about?
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Check this out.

Posted on September 17, 2008. Filed under: Church, Friends, Theology | Tags: , , , , , , |

Just want to give a shout out to my brotha from anotha motha Michael Seay. He is very new in the blog world, but has some very great great thought. You can check his blog by clicking here. 

Times are a bit slow right now. Music gigs are coming and going, and yet the economy keeps getting worse and worse. Since moving to Alpharetta, GA a few weeks ago, my wife Susan has been unable to find any steady work. She is working as a Nanny for a very nice family, and while that’s a lot of fun, and they are great people, we just aren’t going to be able to make it on what she is making now. Not only that, but in the long run, she just doesn’t want to be a Nanny. She didn’t suffer through four years of college and basically almost get two degrees just to be a Nanny. So with that being said we went to a job fair this morning. I ad planned on accompanying her, but since I had nothing to do, and I was looking to get some extra money myself, I thought I would go to and submit my resumes in a few places. OK, so not only was this the biggest waste of time ever, we drove all that way, and basically no one was hiring or excepting resumes. What in the heck is up with that? Well, we didn;t get a lot accomplished, but Susan is hoping that she might get at least one call back from it. Just pray!!!! Not only for her, but pray for me that I will have more musical opportunities. It’s all about networking and paying your dues, and that is exactly what I am doing right now. 

Now as far as the weight loss pictures. Well, They are coming but we are trying to get our digital camera in working order before that can happen. But I will keep you updated. Just as a refresher, and as a way that I am letting all you readers keep me accountable, I will repost all of the figures and pics for you to see all at the same time.

On a new thought- there is a new wave of discussion that is coming up in the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) about Calvinism, Arminianism, John 3:16 and everything in between. Now, I am not into engaging in mud slinging debates, but I want to hear what your opinions are. Here are the rules: I don’t want to see statements like “well if I were God I would…” or “Well I know what the Bible says but….” or “The Bible says this, but it what it really means is [Something totally opposite of the real meaning]. Once I get some comments, I will tell you what some of my view are and why I believe that. Do some research on these types of theology, and then read up on some scripture.

Alright folks! That’s all I got for today… Talk to you very soon!

Josh

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