Hope in Tough Times

Worship Service for August 23, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and hopefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Our next 12 Hour Prayer Vigil is Wednesday from 7 am to 7 pm. The church leaders are suggesting we pray for three things:

  1. prayers for healing
  2. that will people will respond to our invitation for them to participate
    in our upcoming Grief Share ministry
  3. for our schools to reopen safely

You may sign up for one or more 20 minute time intervals by clicking on the link: https://crosspointeprayervigil.youcanbook.me/

Click the remaining time or times you desire.

Next Sunday is a fifth Sunday and you know what that means. That’s when we not only gather for worship but we also Gather to Scatter in order to accomplish our purpose of “Sharing God’s Grace with Our Community.” We have learned that the Food Pantry at the Church-at-the-Lake is running dangerously low. Therefore; be encouraged to bring in any of the food items listed below. You may drop these off at the church today or the next Sunday by noon.

  • Shampoo
  • Toilet Paper
  • Canned Ravioli
  • Canned Beef Stew
  • Canned Chili
  • Canned Soup with Beef (folks pour it over noodles or rice to make a meal)
  • Small packages of white Rice
  • Spaghetti Sauce (jar ready to use)
  • Canned Fruit
  • Canned Vegetables (other than green beans)
  • Boxed Cereal
  • Pancake Mix
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly

For those who come Sunday and are willing and able, we hope to do a little clean up around the church and pavilion.

I already have 5 persons who will start the new Disciple class this September. If you are interested or know someone who is, let me know about it.

Since we changed our worship time to 9:30 am, I will remain after worship until 12 noon for those of you who wish to drop off your offering. You may place it in the box that is located in the lobby.

If you prefer to send your offering in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format on the same page where you accessed this.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Last week, before singing Indescribable and All Creation Worships You, we read from the Book of Job. In chapter 38, which heralds the end of the book, God powerfully reveals Himself to Job as the undisputed Creator of the cosmos. Job is humbled.

In the beginning, chapter one sets the stage. Through a series of natural disasters, Job suffers the loss of all his livestock (in other words, all his wealth) and all ten of his children. How did Job respond?

“Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’

In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, (Satan), came with them. ‘Where have you come from?’ the Lord asked Satan.

Satan answered the Lord, ‘I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.’

Then the Lord asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.’

Satan replied to the Lord, ‘Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!’

‘All right, do with him as you please,’ the Lord said to Satan. ‘But spare his life.’

So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.

Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’

But Job replied, ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’

So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.”

Job 1:20-22; 2:1-10

Although Job was long dead before Isaiah the prophet was even born, the latter’s words from Isaiah 41:10 could have come from Job’s mouth:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

HYMNS OF PRAISE

How Firm a Foundation

Rippon, John

How firm a foundation, Ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not; I am with thee. O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, Omnipotent hand.

When through fiery trials, Thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Blessed Be Your Name

Redman, Matt & Beth

Blessed be Your name…in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow…
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name…
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name…
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be…
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name…
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

©2002 Thankyou Music/PRS, admin by EMI Christian Music Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Our Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that You have provided a firm foundation of faith for us to settle upon in Your Son, Jesus. And because He is our rock and fortress, when troubles come our way, we can say with peace that passes all understanding, blessed be Your name, blessed be Your glorious name! Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

I Chronicles 29:10-14 (Upon the occasion of the people bringing their offerings for the building of the temple in Jerusalem)

“Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly:

‘O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion, people are made great and given strength. O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!’”

PRAYER SONG

He Is Our Peace

Groves, Kandela

He is our peace
Who has broken down ev’ry wall.
He is our peace, He is our peace.
He is our peace
Who has broken down ev’ry wall.
He is our peace, He is our peace.

Cast all your cares on Him,
For He cares for you,
He is our peace, He is our peace.
Cast all your cares on Him,
For He cares for you,
He is our peace, He is our peace.

©1975 Maranatha! Music (admin. by The Copyright Co.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Alan Robbins

Please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father.

Please give us Peace. Help us use your words and examples from the Bible, your caring actions, and your loving deeds to bring Peace to our world, Peace to our families, Peace to our friends, Peace to our communities, and Peace inside our minds and bodies.

Lord, we know you will listen and guide us as we want our prayers to reach out and to hold, to give help, to give Love, and to give Peace to those that are grieving, for those that are ill, for those that are hurting in any way and prayers for our own needs.

We pray for our church, we pray for our members, we pray for our community, we pray for our friends, we pray for leaders to help us do the right thing, and to give God’s Glory and Grace to our community and the world in which we live.

For these things, we pray, Amen.

SCRIPTURE

I Peter 5:7-11

[As we read the scriptures, I will pause and make a few comments]

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you” (verse 7).

[Note that this verse is a quote of Psalm 55:22].

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (verse 8).

[To be sure, Peter acknowledges the devil’s existence. Clearly the devil is to be taken seriously. And yet I have never been one to give too much attention to the devil.

Bible scholar Wayne Gruden writes, “A survey of the results of demonic influence in the New Testament will indicate certain characteristics which a sober and watchful Christian may suspect to be caused, at least in part, by the devil or demons. Yet caution is appropriate here, for there is much evil in the world that is not directly from Satan or demons but simply from sin remaining in our own hearts or in the lives of unbelievers around us. And excessive curiosity about the devil’s workings is also harmful. We are to “be babes in evil” (I Corinthians 14:20). 1

I Howard Marshall writes, “Testing of Christians carries the risk that they will fall, and sometimes they do fall in the face of temptation and persecution. Of course, it is not God’s will that they should fall. This desire is to be attributed to the devil, who appears here for the first and only time in the letter. His power expresses itself in the lives of those who oppose and persecute Christians, just as the power of God is active in the lives of Christians. 2

Ernest Best writes, “Resist him” … “does not mean that they should oppose their persecutors but that they should be steadfast under persecution so that they do not become victims to the lion through apostasy.” 3]

“Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen” (verses 9-11).

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Hope in Tough Times

“So after suffering for a little while” (I Peter 5:10b).

The world pandemic has been having a tremendous negative psychological impact. Since this pandemic has begun we have been told so many things about how this virus operates, how many people have really contracted it, how many people have really died, how to combat it, how long it’s going to be with us, whether or not we will have an effective vaccine and if so, how soon. All this uncertainty contributes to fear of the unknown and loss of control.

Add to that the loss of social norms of getting together with friends and family, of simply seeing other people, seeing other people without masks. Seeing people with masks causes us emotional stress brought on by not being able to read and therefore discern the facial expressions of others. 4

An on-line article titled, Why a Mask is not Just a Mask, says,

We depend on non-verbal behavior, and particularly facial expression, to express ourselves and communicate to others. … In some contexts, non-verbal communication accounts for the majority of what we understand in our social exchanges. With our faces half-covered, we lose key non-verbal information, and other information, like raised eyebrows and shoulder shrugs become highly ambiguous without cues from the mouth. This loss of information is like talking on your phone in a zone with weak cell service. You know, those times when you only hear every third word and eventually the call drops. The effect leaves us feeling less able to communicate and less able to understand each other. 5

And it just gets worse for kids:

By putting on masks, we take away information that makes it especially difficult for children to recognize others and read emotional signals, which is unsettling and disconcerting. 6

These negative psychological impacts are taking a toll: Many, if not most, are at least somewhat depressed. Divorce is on the rise as this pandemic has served as a tipping point for many couples who were already in trouble. Drug use is on the rise. “More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality.” 7 The number of people taking their own lives has increased. “The CDC conducted a survey of 5,412 people between June 24 and 30 and the collected data on suicides is alarming. Roughly 25 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they’ve considered suicide because of the pandemic.” 8

Christians are not immune from these negative effects of the coronavirus. But we are not helpless either.

Peter says to those who are suffering, “Stay alert!” (I Peter 5:8).

Wayne Grudem writes, this imperative is, “An admonition to spiritual watchfulness. Just as a person walking down a dangerous road might be advised to be alert and careful, so Peter’s readers are warned, “Stay or remain alert!” 9 … The opposite of this sober watchfulness is a kind of spiritual drowsiness in which one sees and responds to situations no different; than unbelievers.” 10

Peter’s admonition to “Stay alert!” is so timely. I am somewhat afraid that this pandemic might have led to some drowsiness among the sheep at CrossPointe. I pray not and I want to trust with all my heart that this is not so. But if you are listening and you feel yourself drifting away from your faith for whatever reason, I pray you will hear this Apostle’s warning to “Stay alert!”

This short imperative “stay alert” serves as a link by coming between casting all our cares on the Lord and watching out for the devil. It therefore offers you and I a choice; a choice that will have a definite impact on how we weather this storm.

We can “Give all our worries and cares to God for He cares about us,” or we can allow ourselves to become spiritually drowsy which opens the door to the attacks of the devil who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (5:8)

Hey Peter, can you give us any advice on how to keep from getting devoured?

1. “Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith” (I Peter 5:9a).

As difficult as it may be, we as Christ-followers must view this pandemic through eyes of faith. As Christians, we are called upon to see a silver lining in every cloud, to have faith that God “causes all things,” (including this pandemic), “to work out for the good toward those who love God and who are called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28).

Two sailors ran into each other in a pub and over a few beers, one of the men told the other about his last voyage. “After a month at sea, we found our masts had been eaten through by termites!

“That’s terrible,” said the second sailor.

“That’s what I thought at first too,” said the first sailor, “but it turned out to be good luck for as soon as we took the sails down to fix the masts, we were hit by a squall so suddenly and so hard, it would surely have blown us over if our sails were up at the time.”

“How lucky for you!” said the other guy.

“That’s exactly what I thought at the time, too. But because our sails were down, we couldn’t steer ourselves, and because of the wind, we were blown onto a reef and were stranded.”

“That is bad luck indeed.”

“That’s what I thought, too, when it first happened. But we all made it to the beach alive and had plenty to eat. But now here’s the real kicker: While we were on the island whining about our terrible fate, we discovered a buried treasure!” 11

The point of the story is we should refrain from labeling event ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ How can you say this event is not bad; thousands have died! But that’s when God does His best work!

Hey, the story of this pandemic is not over yet! And we don’t know what God is up to behind the scenes. With steadfast faith in God, we can assume God is going to bring good from this.

I believe that God is using this event to wake up His Church! He is forcing us to become more creative in how to reach people for Him. And I believe that God is using this event to wake up people! He is drawing people to Him
so they can discover His peace in the midst of this storm (more on this next week).

Looking for those silver linings leads to a more positive attitude. And a more positive attitude will have a positive impact on our mental health.

So, let’s focus on viewing this pandemic through eyes of faith!

2. “Remember that your family of believers all over the world
is going through the same kind of suffering you are” (I Peter 5:9b).

It does help to know that others are experiencing the same thing we are. Someone was so wise to put up that sign at the intersection of Lake and Chippewa Roads says, “We’re in this together.” It’s important to realize that we are not experiencing this pandemic alone.

A young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. “Lord, I can’t go on,” he said. “This is just too heavy a cross to bear.”

The Lord replied, “My son, if you can’t bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish.”

The man was filled with relief; “Thank you, Lord,” he sighed. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible.

Room filled with crosses of all types and sizes, from very large, to very small.

Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. “I’d like that one, Lord,” he whispered.

And the Lord replied, “My son, that is the cross you just brought in.” 12

When life’s problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see that other people are struggling with us.

And we may consider ourselves far more fortunate than we’ve imagined.

Someone has written:

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive the week.

If you have never experienced the loneliness of imprisonment, or starvation, you are more blessed than a million people around the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your heads, you are richer than 75% of the inhabitants of the world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people who can’t read at all. 13

“Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are” (I Peter 5:9b).

3. In His kindness, God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.

These promises in verses 10 and 11 serve as a summary of the entire letter; that is, Christians are suffering persecution, but in the end, God wins. These words ‘restore,’ ‘support,’ and ‘strengthen’ bear looking into as they tell us something about what suffering is designed by God to do for us.

The word for ‘restore’ was commonly used for setting a fracture, to mend that which is broken, and is the word used in Mark 1:19 for mending nets. So if suffering is tempered with trust in God, it can mend any weaknesses in our character and even add greatness which so far may not be there.

William Barclay in commenting on this verse gives an illustration of a “Sir Edward Elgar who once listened to a young girl singing a solo. She had a voice of exceptional purity and clarity and range, and an almost perfect technique. When she had finished, Sir Edward said softly, ‘She will be really great when something happens to break her heart.’” 14

God can use suffering by adding grace notes to our lives and thereby ‘restore’ us.

Barclay writes,

The word for ‘support’ is a word which means to make as solid as granite. Suffering does one of two things; it either makes us collapse or it builds solid character. If we face suffering head-on with continuing trust in Christ, we will emerge like toughened steel that has been tempered in fire. 15

That’s why Peter adds that trusting God in the midst of suffering will ‘strengthen’ us. Barclay again,

No one really knows what his faith means to him until it has been tried in the furnace of affliction. There is something doubly precious about a faith which has come victoriously through pain and sorrow and disappointment. The wind will extinguish a weak flame; but it will fan a strong flame into a still greater blaze. 16

Through this restoration, supporting, and strengthening, God will place us on a firm foundation. That is, we will be driven down to the very bedrock of our faith. And it is precisely there that we will discover that we cannot be shaken.

I came across the following story that I pray will pull this together and will conclude with:

A stranger came by the other day with an offer that set me to thinking.

He wanted to buy the old barn that sits out by the highway. I told him right off he was crazy. He said he was driving by and saw that beautiful barn sitting out in the tall grass and wanted to know if it was for sale. I told him he had a funny idea of beauty.

Sure, it was a handsome building in its day. But there’s been a lot of winters with their snow and ice and howling wind. And the summer sun’s beat down on that old barn till all the paint’s gone, and the wood has turned silver gray. And now the old building leans a good deal, looking kind of tired. Yet, that fellow called it beautiful.

The stranger said he planned to use the lumber to line the walls of his den in a new country home he’s building down the road. He said you couldn’t get paint that beautiful. Only years of standing in the weather, bearing the storms and scorching sun, can produce barn wood that stately looking and beautiful.

And that’s what set me to thinking. We’re a lot like that barn, you and I.
Only it’s on the inside that the beauty grows with us. Sure we turn silver gray too, and we might lean a bit more than we did when we were young and full of sap. But the Good Lord knows what He’s doing. And as the years pass, He’s busy using the dry spells and the stormy seasons to do a job of weathering and beautifying and strengthening our souls. And to think how often folks holler because they want life easy!

They took the old barn down today and hauled it away to beautify a rich man’s house. And I reckon someday we’ll be taken down and hauled off to heaven. And I suspect that when that day comes we’ll add beauty to our Father’s house then for the seasons we’re enduring in His name and in His strength now. 17

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage all of you to pray as you feel led).

CLOSING SONG

I Will Not Be Shaken

Guerrero, Tony

My soul finds rest in You,
My Fortress and my Rock,
My hope for life, my hiding place,
My Refuge and my God.
In You I’ve found my home,
My shelter from the storm,
And I’ll pour out my heart to You
And lean upon Your throne.

I will put my trust in You,
I will put my hope there, too.
I will stand upon Your Word
And I will not be shaken.
I will let my praises show,
Holding on to what I know,
Because I know
You’re always there
And I will not be shaken.
I will not be shaken.

My soul finds rest in You,
My Fortress and my Rock,
My hope for life, my hiding place,
My Refuge and my God.
In You I’ve found my home,
My shelter from the storm,
And I’ll pour out my heart to You
And lean upon Your throne.

I will put my trust in You,
I will put my hope there, too.
I will stand upon Your Word
And I will not be shaken.
I will let my praises show,
Holding on to what I know,
Because I know
You’re always there
And I will not be shaken.
I will not be shaken.

I will not be moved.
I’m leaning on the throne,
Because You died for me
And called me to Your own.
And even when the strongest winds begin to blow,
I will stand my ground.
I will not be moved.
I will not be shaken.

My soul finds rest in You,
My Fortress and my Rock,
My hope for life, my hiding place,
My Refuge and my God.
I will put my trust in You,
I will put my hope there, too.
I will stand upon Your Word
And I will not be shaken.
I will let my praises show,
Holding on to what I know,
Because I know
You’re always there
And I will not be shaken.

I will put my trust in You,
I will put my hope there, too.
I will stand upon Your Word
And I will not be shaken.
I will let my praises show,
Holding on to what I know,
Because I know
You’re always there
And I will not be shaken.
I will not be shaken.

©2002 Maranatha! Music, admin by The Copyright Company/Butterfly Music,
admin by Encouraging Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

II Thessalonians 2:16-17

1 Wayne Grudem, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; I Peter, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing, © 1988], Pages 196-197.

2 I. Howard Marshall, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series; I Peter, [Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, © 1991], page 170.

3 Ernest Best, The New Century Bible Commentary; I Peter, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans, © 1977], page 174.

4 https//www.psycholgytoday.com/us/blog/slightly-blighty/202005/the-psychology-wearing-face-mask

5 https://www.cugmhp.org/five-on-friday/why-a-mask-is-not-just-a-mask/

6 https://www.cugmhp.org/five-on-friday/why-a-mask-is-not-just-a-mask/

7 American Medical Association Issue Brief: Reports of Increases in Opioid Related Overdose and other Concerns During COVID Pandemic
August 14, 2020
https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-08/issue-brief-increases-in-opioid-related-overdose.pdf

8 Jack Kelly, Forbes, The Pandemic Has Caused An Increase In Anxiety, Stress, Depression And Suicides, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/08/18/the-pandemic-has-caused-an-increase-in-anxiety-stress-depression-and-suicides/#66fb3f035863

9 Wayne Grudem, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; I Peter, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing, © 1988], Pages 195-196.

10 Ibid, page 196.

11 Adam Khan From his book “Self-Help Stuff That Works”
http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0040/1426/Motivational_Stories.pdf

12 http://www.creatingfutures.net/archive/stories/cross.htm

13 http://www.creatingfutures.net/archive/stories/blessed.htm

14 William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series; the Letters of James and Peter, [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminster Press, © 1976], page 273.

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid, page 274.

17 Author Unknown
http://www.creatingfutures.net/archive/stories/barn.htm

Randy K'Meyer

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