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Implementing a Theology of Work - Lesson 9

Building Relationships as a Leader

In this lesson, you will learn about the importance of character in leadership and how it is developed through adversity, as demonstrated by biblical figures such as Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and Peter. The lesson also teaches that the focus of your heart should be on God, rather than worldly pursuits or even seemingly good things, which can be distractions. You'll discover that building trust through relationships is crucial for effective spiritual leadership, with Jesus as the ultimate model. By learning from others and life experiences, you'll see the difference between God's ways and the world's ways. Finally, you'll understand the significance of valuing people and their gifts, team building, holding people accountable, and empowering and encouraging others.

Kent  Humphreys
Implementing a Theology of Work
Lesson 9
Watching Now
Building Relationships as a Leader

I. Importance of Character in Leadership

A. Knowledge, Skills, and Character

B. Developing Character through Adversity

C. Biblical Examples of Character Development

II. The Focus of Our Heart

A. Choosing the Best, the Good, or the Bad and Ugly

B. Desires and Worldly Pursuits

C. Focusing on God

III. Building Trust through Relationships

A. Jesus as a Model

B. Learning from Others and Life Experiences

C. God's Ways vs. the World's Ways

IV. Valuing People and their Gifts

A. Team Building

B. Holding People Accountable

C. Empowering and Encouraging Others


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  • In this lesson, you learn about the importance of developing and supporting workplace leaders, likened to shepherding horses, and how to guide them to make a positive impact in their workplaces while growing spiritually. You'll explore the challenges of managing their independent spirit and potential pitfalls, and the significance of trust, control, and focus in their development.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain insight into God's purposes for us in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of relationships and the four key words the Holy Spirit highlights: Kingdom, Relationships, Community, and Transformation, helping you become an effective ambassador for Christ in your workplace.
  • This lesson teaches you how to naturally proclaim Christ in the workplace, emphasizing that the core mission is to love God and love people. You will discover the importance of evangelism and discipleship as ongoing processes, and how incorporating biblical values in the workplace positively impacts employees and business growth.
  • This lesson helps you understand and overcome obstacles to workplace ministry, emphasizing the importance of personal transformation, serving the community, and representing Jesus in daily life.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Jesus' approach to work and leadership by examining the five things He did: telling everyone the good news, teaching many to understand God's principles, training some to do the work, equipping a few to reproduce, and modeling a relationship with the Father. These principles can help guide your own approach to work and leadership in various settings.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights on the significance of training spiritual leaders, using the Bible as a guide, and Jesus as a model. You will understand the value of influence over position and how to train leaders for different spheres of society. Embracing your uniqueness and learning about 12 styles of assistance for emerging leaders will equip you to effectively develop others in their spiritual journey.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the vital process of connecting church leaders and workplace leaders, fostering personal relationships, and understanding the six key responsibilities pastors have toward workplace leaders to create a thriving spiritual community and extend the church's influence beyond its walls.
  • Walking through open doors teaches you to bring Christ's kingdom to the workplace, developing relationships and fostering unity. Learn the four steps to successful workplace ministry, including prayer and responding to opportunities, while offering support during times of crisis.
  • In this lesson, you learn the significance of character in leadership, focusing on God, and the importance of building trust through relationships. You'll also explore the value of people and their gifts and understand how to hold others accountable and empower them as a spiritual leader.
  • This lesson highlights the importance of finishing well in your spiritual journey, emphasizing the need for a heart for God and an undivided heart, while providing biblical examples of those who succeeded in doing so, encouraging you to strive for the same in your own life.

With Kent Humphreys. Using the mental picture of a shepherd caring for his sheep, Kent Humphreys likens the shepherd to a pastor and the congregation to sheep, into which a few horses (strong business leaders) have been let loose. It is hard to understand these horses, who are just as capable of causing chaos with their strength and of standing quietly off in a corner of the pasture by themselves. How is a pastor to understand and equip these potentially powerful creatures to be part of the “flock” and then to go out into their workplace to minister and influence it for God? The answer to that question is the focus of this book. Taking the example of how Jesus handled His “horses”, a simple plan is offered that can build bridges between pastors and workplace leaders, impacting both the church and the community.

Recommended Books

Shepherding Horses, Volume I (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

Shepherding Horses, Volume I (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

Kent’s most well-received book yet! This 50-page guide to Understanding God’s Plan for Transforming Leaders is a must-read for any pastor and the strong and driven...

Shepherding Horses, Volume I (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)
Shepherding Horses, Volume II (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

Shepherding Horses, Volume II (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

In this book, Kent encourages pastors to invest in the incredible resource they have - the business leaders in their churches. The book is full of practical and possible...

Shepherding Horses, Volume II (A Pastor's Guide to Equipping Workplace Leaders)

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Mr. Kent Humphreys
Implementing a Theology of Work
cm120-09
Building Relationships as a Leader
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:05] This session, we're going to be talking about building relationships as a spiritual leader. How you as a leader were able to build relationships with other leaders and with those that you work with. Now, we talked in an earlier session that a leader requires three things. First of all, you as a leader require skills that's teaching what you know, I mean, knowledge teaching. Secondly, you requires skills. What you can do as a leader, that requires training. And thirdly, a leader requires character. Who is the leader? That requires equipping, equipping. So knowledge, skills and character which is taught and trained and equipped and therefore character is very important to the fast track to spiritual leadership. God determines the path, and then we affect the timing by how we learn character. Now, character God allows character to be developed in us normally through adversity and suffering. This has always been his method. And so as we meet adversity in our life, God builds character into our life. God has created potential and raw form, but then suffering produces the characteristics that He wants in our life over time. And the results are what God does to get a good return on His investment in US. And long lasting fruit is dependent upon the character that is produced in our life with an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, when Abraham, when God want to develop him as a leader. Abraham had developed character in giving up control of his life and giving up his son, Isaac. When Moses was on the backside of the desert for 40 years. God developed character in his life over a period of 40 years so that for the next 40 years, Moses was a leader of the children of Israel. Joseph Starting at age 13, starting at age 17, for the next 13 years, was in prison, was in pain, was in difficulty.

[00:02:06] And yet God built character in Joseph's life from age 17 to age 30, so that Joseph was able to be the second most powerful man in the world at age 30 years of age. Peter, who denied Christ and had constant failures in his life before becoming the leader of the early church. In each of these cases, God had to take these men through difficult circumstances, through times of brokenness in their life, in order that they might develop the character that they could have as leaders, so that they could be leaders for God. So the Bible says that we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, produces character, and character produces hope. My brother was the mayor of Oklahoma City for a number of years, and in the tornado in 1999, which we were just discussing in 1999, a Class five tornado came into Oklahoma City, 240 to 260 mile an hour winds. Thousands of homes were destroyed, several hundred lives were lost. It was the largest tornado in the history recorded in the history of the United States. My brother was interviewed the next morning after the tornado in the darkness by one of the national media. And he had the interview and it came off all right. And the second morning he was interviewed, but he said, you know, the second morning, I'm going to be a little more prepared for the interview. So one of the major broadcast networks interviewed my brother and said, Mr. Mayor, what what stage do you find the people in Oklahoma City, what are they feeling like now? And Kirk said, my brother said, I think they're in the character stage, which is producing hope. And she said, Well, she said, What do you mean? He said, Well, adversity brings perseverance, which brings character, which brings hope.

[00:04:03] And she said, That is fantastic. Where did you get that from? And he said, The Bible. And she quickly changed the subject. But we as believers, as we face adversity, we learn perseverance. Character is developed in our life and God gives us hope. So I found that the major thing that God looks at in developing character in our lives is our heart. And we as leaders have three choices and how to deal with our heart. We can either choose the best, which is what God has for us, or we can choose the good, or we can choose the bad and the ugly. We can choose the world and all that the world has to offer for us. We can choose the good things or we can choose the best that God has for us. What is the focus of our heart? Well, the Bible says and John, first, John 215 and 16 that we are to love, not the world, neither the things that are in the world for all that is in the world, The lust the flesh. The lust the eyes. And the pride of life is not of the father, but of the world. The last of the flesh, the desire to indulge, the last of the eyes, the desire to possess, the pride of life, the desire to impress. God says that each one of us as leaders is probably going to be probably going to be drawn to one of those three areas. It could be the desire of the flesh. It could be the desire to possess. It could be the desire to impress. We are enslaved by power. We're deceived by popularity. We're captured by pleasures. We're consumed by possessions. Now, this is very interesting. God says, You know, I don't want you to have these desires.

[00:05:52] And yet, in Proverbs 22 four, it says this. But the reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are three things riches, honor and life. This is very interesting. God says if you seek riches and wealth, that sin. But if you seek me, I'll give you riches. You said if you seek power and honor and prestige, that sin. But if said, if you seek me, I'll give you honor. God says if you seek the desires of the flesh and all of these things. But if you seek those that sin. But if you seek me, I'll give you an abundant life. Jesus said, I'm come to give you life and life more abundantly. So the key is what is the focus of our heart? We can focus on the world. Many of you as a leader, you're a pastor. You're a leader in the workplace. You're you're going to seminary. I mean, you're not going to seek the last of the flesh, the last the eyes. Pride of life. Like all of us, you're acceptable. You're susceptible to sin. But what happens is you begin to, as a father or as a mother, begin to focus on your children and put them as your heart's desire instead of God. And you'll become discouraged because they'll never be able to please you. You put your word, Mr. Workplace Leader, on your work, and you're going to be defeated because it'll never bring satisfaction to your heart. Or you focus on your health and it will begin to deteriorate. Or perhaps you say, Well, I'm going to focus on my friends and family and I'm going to really put my trust in them, and they'll bring you to despair because they'll disappoint you. Or you say, Well, I may focus on my church, Mr.

[00:07:34] Pastor, and then you become drained and trying to meet all the needs that are required of you. Or you say, I'm going to go out of my community and I'm going to do good works, but you'll become disillusioned. Or as a business person, you say, Well, I'm going to make investments and I'll put my trust in them and you'll be depressed so we can focus on good things. But God says if you focus on good things, that's just as bad because you're not focusing on me. So what he wants us to do is to focus on him. And so I'm 37 five. You're familiar with the verse, the light thyself also in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. So our focus has to be on God. If you're going to be a leader, if you're going to be a leader of character. Our focus needs to be on him because any time we focus on any other place besides him, we're going to get off track. So as a leader, to be an effective spiritual leader and to lead others, we have to build trust through relationships. Whether you're a leader in the church or a leader in the workplace. Wherever God calls you to lead, you have to build trust through relationships. And Jesus modeled that constantly with the 12 year model then and John 15. So how do we learn to do it? Number one, the model of Jesus, the example of others and stories from the Bible and from life, from failures of others. You know, I've learned a lot more through failures than I've learned through success. By doing it by trial and error. We learn the difference between God's ways and the world's ways as we get in Scripture and the Holy Spirit teaches us.

[00:09:14] Now, let me just go through a few of these. This is so revealing. The world says that we gain leadership and power through through power. Jesus says we gain leadership through humility. The world says we gain leadership through position. Jesus says we can leadership through weakness. Does it make sense? Does it? The world says we gain it through dominance. But Jesus said, as your broken eye perfects you as a leader, the world says, We use authority. Jesus says We become a servant. The world says we manipulate. Jesus says we become dependent upon God. The world says we have to be in control. Jesus says it's about relationships. The world says it's self-centered. We say it's accountability. It's not self-sufficient. That's not the lonely. Ranger. It's not an empire building, but it's community, it's kingdom and it's love. Jesus ways are different than the world's ways. It's a whole different list of perspective. So we do it. Telling is not teaching. Listening is not learning. We learn to do by doing. We learn to be a leader, building those kind of relationships by walking in Jesus way. So we share a common vision. We value people and their gifts. You as a leader, whether it's in church or the workplace or wherever God's placed you, we value people and their gifts. As you value people and their gifts, you will draw people around you as a leader. You value team building. We value holding people accountable. When I was doing the survey, I was asked to speak at a young executive conference. At that time, a little over ten years ago, I was leading our company at three or 400 employees, about 400 employees scattered out in 40 cities across the United States. I went to my executive team.

[00:11:09] I had six on the executive team. I had about 12 to 15 that were totally in leadership, about 30 middle managers. And I went to those executives and managers and I said, Tell me the three characteristics that you want from me as a leader or any other leader. And two of the characteristics were not a surprise, but the third one was really kind of a shock to me. So this is from a real survey, and I've constantly tested this over the last few years. And here's the three characteristics that they said that they wanted me as a leader. They wanted me to be a man of integrity. They also wanted me to lead one on a final decision how to be made that I could take their input, but they wanted someone to lead and make the decision. But the second one listed there, that surprised me. One of the three characteristics that each one of them wanted in their leader was accessibility. And as I've taken that around the nation, around the world, I've found that many leaders, that's the one thing that they struggle with because they're strong personalities, but they're so intense on leading that ministry, that church, that company, that they're not accessible to the people when they needed to be. I had great delegation to my people and held them accountable, but when they had an issue, they wanted to be able to get to me and not have me not be accessible. Accessibility is the third characteristic of a leader. So let's look at each one of these three briefly. Number one, integrity. It's talked about a lot in the Bible, the integrity of the upright God's in, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. How we've seen that in recent crisis in our government, in the business world, even in the church, unfortunately.

[00:12:56] And so we have to have integrity. We want to look for leaders who do not change that. They're the same that that their integrity, that they're one. There is not duplicity there. So integrity is very important. The example is the Holy Spirit. The example is Joseph. In a foreign culture, he had integrity. God is the same. He does not change. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Joseph was had a man of integrity in a foreign land. For 13 years. His integrity was tested. Secondly, what about accessibility? Jesus modeled that, and in Ephesians chapter 312, we see in Him through faith in him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Jesus allows us accessibility to the Father through Him, through Him, through Christ. We have both access to the Father by one spirit. And so accessibility is very important. The example is Jesus Christ. With the 12, He was at the right hand of God. Today, Jesus sits at the right hand of God. KING David, this is the one characteristic that we never hear talked about, but it's the key to establishing relationships with those you serve. You've got to be accessible to them. And here's Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe. And he allows us to be accessible to the father. He's the mediator that allows us a sinful man to come to God. He gives us accessibility. Third characteristic is servant leadership. Servant leadership is enabling and encouraging confidence building, and it's seeing our coworkers not as assets, but as people, as real people with real issues. Servant leadership. So servant leadership. The example is God the Father. The example is Daniel. Daniel was a servant leader. The more time that we spend with and get to know God, the more we become like Him and the more we become what He wants us to be.

[00:15:02] You know, Daniel. Daniel will talk about Daniel a little bit later, but Daniel's my favorite Bible character, Daniel and Joseph. Daniel was taken into captivity and Daniel, chapter one. He was 13 to 15 years of age whenever cancer took him from the children of Israel and brought him into Babylon. But Daniel in chapter six, how old was Daniel when he went into the lion's den? Daniel was an old man. He was no longer 13 to 15 years of age. Daniel was 82 to 83 years of age as he was thrown in the lion's den. Daniel served under four different kings. Daniel was a man who was a servant. He was a servant leader. And therefore, in his eighties, they still desired his wisdom and his leadership because he was respected. So a man of integrity. The opposite of integrity is one of instability. Saul. Saul was the perfect Bible character. Daniel may have been Daniel. A Joseph may have been a person of integrity. Saul was a person that was constantly waving back and forth. In chapter one, verse six through eight of James, it talks about being unstable and always constantly shifting back and forth downward. The double minded man were unstable in all of his ways. That is Saul that saw the leader. He was unstable. He was not a man of integrity, a person who is accessible and withdrawn. The example is Elijah. After his greatest victory, Elijah withdrew, had a depression. He said, God, I'm all alone. There's, you know, I'm all alone. I'm the only one. And God, said, Elijah, there's 7000 people who haven't bowed before me. But he withdrew. And many times, you know, I found when I was my brothers were in business with me. There were three of us in business.

[00:17:00] We were together for 17 years. And through a series of circumstances, both my brothers and business partners went into some other businesses, and both of them left the business within seven months. And I found myself not accessible. I found myself withdrawing because many leaders, when they lose the the the comfort zone that they have, when there's a difficult time of change or when other leaders maybe have left the firm or left the church, then you have a tendency to withdraw. And I had to learn to be accessible to my people and to be accessible versus to be withdrawn. Third characteristic servant leadership. The opposite is prideful. Nebuchadnezzar was the biblical example. Instead of Daniel being a man of a leader, Nebuchadnezzar was one that was prideful. He was very prideful. And so instead of being a servant, Nebuchadnezzar, it was prideful. So God had to humble him and you know the story of Nebuchadnezzar. So what about the response from the followers? If we are men of integrity, men and women of integrity, then the opposite is instability. The opposite of accessibility is withdrawn. The opposite of servant leadership is being proud. Now, what do we desire from our followers instead of what we desire from our followers? If we are men and women of integrity, we desire allegiance. If we're going to be people of integrity, we want them to be loyal to us. The number one thing that a leader looks for in a follower is loyalty. Without loyalty, there can be no follower. Does it make a difference how bright, how talented, how skilled that person is? If you're a pastor of a church staff, if you're a CEO of a company, if you're a leader of a governmental organization, if you're a leader of a school, the number one thing you want from your people is you want their loyalty.

[00:18:55] You want their allegiance. Secondly, if you're going to be accessible and you allow them to come in your office at any time so that you're an accessible leader, you want them to tell you the truth. What I found is that many times the leader is the last one, of course, to know, and our people don't want to be the bearer of bad news. And so they're afraid to tell you the truth. And therefore you need to create the atmosphere of a leader where they're not afraid, to tell you the truth, where you won't jump on them to really tell you the truth. Because if they won't tell you the truth, who will tell you the truth? So in the Bible, when we see that men and women as leaders made themselves accessible, then they needed to have people that would honestly tell them the truth. And finally, submission. If you have a leader and that leader is a true servant leader, then when the decision is finally made, that follower needs to submit to his or her leadership. So integrity demands allegiance and loyalty. Secondly, accessibility demands honesty. Servant leader If you're going to finally demand submission when we're ready to go, then let's go that direction. If you as a leader will follow these same these three simple principles, you'll find that followers will have a tremendous relationship with you. So a leader desires from his followers allegiance, honesty and submission. Those things will really be if you're a follower. And all of us have to follow someone, whether it's our board of directors or God who's responsible, or the board of trustees or elders or whatever it is in your church or your organization in the workplace, we all have to follow someone.

[00:20:38] If you're the owner and the CEO of the firm and it's a privately held firm, you're not accountable to anyone than you're accountable to the customer who pays a dollar 59 for your project, for your product. So we're all accountable to someone somewhere. And so a leader desires those things from his or her followers. What about our relationship with our peers? If we operate with integrity as a man or woman as a leader, then we need to love that causes us to love our peers and give consideration to them. If we're accessible, that gives them hope. If we're a leader, that gives them faith. So integrity produces love and consideration. Accessibility produces hope. There's a there's hope for communication. There's a free communication between leaders and followers and between peers. And with leadership, it gives faith because there's cooperation. So those are relationships that we as leaders have with our peers. We're considerate of them. We communicate with them and we cooperate with them. You want a firm, you want a church, You want an organization of where there's consideration for each other, where there's communication with each other, and where there is cooperation. And there is those biblical values love, hope and faith, and finally, relationships with followers. This is a secular survey. I want you to look at this. The secular survey ask what three things do you as an employee want? How do you want to be treated in your workplace? And here's the three things that they said. Number one, I want to be treated with dignity. Well, isn't that interesting? Because God values, love and values sensitivity. And so the person in the secular workplace says, I want to be treated with dignity. Do we treat our coworkers and our followers with dignity? Secondly, we want to have community.

[00:22:36] Isn't that interesting? They go to the workplace and they desire community, and that's why communication is so important. When Jesus valued community and John 17, and Jesus constantly said, I want them to be one. The desire of the secular person in the workplace, not necessarily the follower of Jesus. They desire community. They want to be part of a community that's bigger than them. So they want dignity. They want it to be treated as just people who mean something. We were just talking about that at lunch. If you've got followers who can come to a leader and the leader treats them with dignity, they'll follow them through a brick wall because they've been treated with dignity. They're important, Their name is important. They're important as a person to that leader. They're not just a piece of the organizational chart. They're treated with dignity and sensitivity. That's how Jesus treated people. That's how he treated women when women were not important in his day. That's how he treated the outcast when they were not important in his day. Jesus treated everyone with dignity and love and then community and finally purpose. That sounds like a sermon. That sounds like church. And yet this is a secular piece. If you're a leader in the workplace, this is not about church. This is about the needs of your of your coworkers, the needs of your employees. They want to be treated with dignity. They want a place where they can find community and they want a job that has purpose. You need to give them a purpose for being there, not just a paycheck. You need to provide family and community. You need to provide dignity. We sold our firm in 1997. I ran it for three years in 2003 or for seven years later.

[00:24:22] Some of the employees said the firm had moved out of Oklahoma City and they said countless have a picnic, let's have a reunion. I said, Great, I'll be glad to help and support that. And so we went to a local park. We had about 150 people show up. I'd left the firm seven years before. I was no longer involved in the firm in any way for four years. And yet at the park, for a firm that no longer had but a few employees in our city, we had 150 people show up. Why? Because they experienced family. They experienced community. We had people drive 205 hundred miles away for a three or four hour picnic on a Saturday afternoon. Why? Because we were part of a family, because they experienced community that they hadn't found in other places and they wanted to be together. If you're a leader in the workplace and you provide purpose for your coworkers and your employees, if you provide a family atmosphere where they feel like family, if you treat them with dignity, I promise you you will have people lined up to go to work for you and the word will get out. And it certainly proved true with us in the workplace. And this is just a chart that shows that as a leader operates with integrity, he has allegiance from his followers that are loyal from him. And then by love, they're considerate of their coworkers, their considerate of their peers. They're sensitive and they provide dignity for those people that are following them. And they provide, in that particular situation, a strong support where they can do teaching because our family and friends, because you have that thing of sensitivity and consideration, they provide that support for people.

[00:26:13] It all ties together. Biblical truths can be used in the workplace, in government and education. Biblical truth is biblical truth. It's based upon integrity, accessibility, and leadership on faith and hope and love. So we build long term relationships of trust in the workplace through integrity, through accessibility, and through leadership, through being real, through spending time together, through serving others. That's integrity, that's building community, that's serving others. And so Jesus Christ transformed the world by building relationally with the few, with the 12, with the few women. He was able to see the world transformed as the gospel was spread across the world. It's hard work. It will cost you your life. But the only things that really matter for eternity are relationships. That's what Jesus said in John 15. That's what he modeled in John 17 and his prayer. So we as leaders must get a part for developing our character, not just for our knowledge or skills, but we must get apart. It may be a time of teaching at a university or a seminary or retreat or cabin time. We need to expect adversity. We need to seek accountability and accountable community for the rest of our life. We need to have a deep devotional life. We need to seek long term and short term mentoring relationships. That's how a leader builds those characteristics into his life. Let me pray for you that you will be a leader of leaders. Father, we thank you for this time with these leaders. I pray that every person in this class right now that's participated in this class session, Lord, that every one of these leaders will be a man and woman of integrity, that she will be or he will be a person of accessibility, that they will be a person who is a servant leader board, that they will seek to build these characteristics in their life, that is, versus adversity comes into their life.

[00:28:18] They will be the leader that you want them to be. Thank you for taking the time, Lord, to bring us through pain, through suffering, through things that we don't enjoy, to mold us into our mold our heart and focus our heart upon you and motives and the kind of men and women that you want us to be that we might have a heart that delights in you and not in the world and not even in the good things, but that our focus is on you. Thank you, dear Jesus, for caring about developing us as a leader. And Lord help us to stay the course and let us be women and men that desire to walk with you and to lead the others that you've given us to lead. And we pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

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