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If you need help you can call 1-800-394-HOPE(4693).  Also, check out the the official To Save a Life site, the Need Help page, and the Resource page for youth pastors, parents, and students.  Let me know what you think of the movie, and how you plan to use it and its message with your students, church, or school.

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As I type this, here are the big news stories of the day.

1.  Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids at various points in his career including 1998 when he broke Roger Maris’ homerun record.  Did anyone not know?  That was a great summer of baseball.  It may have saved the game plus it provided us with this moment.  I’ve said it before and I will say it here again:  McGwire broke no Major League Baseball rules.  He didn’t take any substances that were banned.  What he did was wrong and unethical, but none of us cared when we gathered around TV sets that whole summer and fall waiting for him to break the record.  Don’t rebuke his records and stats unless you’re willing to quit watching and give back all the happiness you enjoyed watching Mark and Sammy.

2.  Simon Cowell leaving American Idol.  I guess TMZ was right(dude, they’re right alot.  Sleazy, but right) when they approached Randy Jackson the other day and the dude was clueless about it.  Simon IS American Idol.  Mr. Cowell, Ryan Seacrest thanks you.  This is not shocking.  Simon knows that one of the keys to maintaining success is moving on to your next project before the downward spiral occurs.  There goes 4 more jobs under the Obama administration.  Ellen is the only other judge who had a job before the show.  Will it ever end?  But wait…

3.  Sarah Palin has a job now…with Fox News as a contributor.  I don’t see what the big deal is.  People who hated Fox News this morning still hate them and everyone else now has another reason to watch.  I don’t have cable so it doesn’t affect me.

4.  Tobey Macguire and Sam Raimi are off of the Spiderman series.  They had a nice run.  I was hoping they would get a change to redeem Spidey 3, but it looks like the web slinger is getting a reboot.  Some things should be left alone.  Next thing you know they’ll be trying to make us forget about Superman’s son.  Oh NO!

5.  Avatar is fast becoming a real challenger to Titanic for highest grossing movie ever.  I think only half as many people have seen it, it’s just that they’re all paying $15 a ticket for 3D IMAX.  I haven’t seen it, but I’ve only heard great things about it.  We’ll be seeing it in 2D IHOUSE.

6.  NBC is a joke.  I’m gonna miss Leno’s monologue at 10, but they have totally jacked this up.  Once again, TMZ was ahead on this story before everyone.  Who would have thought that our most reliable unbiased news source this decade would be the dude from People’s Court and a bunch of stoners sitting around their cubicles?  That show makes me feel good about my life…that I have one.  Wait a minute…when did I start watching TMZ?  I blame the digital box.

7.  As I type this, David Caruso is arresting Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on CSI Miami.

8.  Made some changes to Chase Your Lion dot com.  Let me know what you think.  Big changes in store for this site.  Gonna do a relaunch.  I will let the five of you know…and mom.

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1.  I wonder how a pro-life supporter can kill someone(in a church)in cold blood because that person is pro-choice.

2.  I wonder how many pastors(youth pastors especially) we will see get “let go”, “fired”, “inner circle word for getting fired(copyright, Heath Mullikin 2008)” before the Wesleyan denomination steps in and adds some real job protections to the Discipline.  How about when the youth pastor signs a yearly housing lease(because he’s asked to by the board) and shortly after is let go with a pricey out clause?  In the corporate world, that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.  On the flip side, if the pastor jets in an untimely and unclassey way then he should be penalized like a college basketball coach.  At some point, a DS should step in and say, “nope, you ain’t gonna do that to these good people.  You’re taking a year off.”

3.  I wonder if the John Wesley movie is going to be as bad as I think it is.  I wonder if the 5’4″ Wesley appreciates being portrayed by a guy big enough to be an NFL TE(that’s Tight End for all you non-fantasy football players).  I wonder if, as Wesleyans, we are obligated to promote a substandard product which may do more harm than good.  Of course, the film may be great and I will see it regardless.  I thought “Amazing Grace” was great.  I just don’t see Mr. Calvin getting this kind of theatrical treatment.  When I see the movie(can’t find the release date on http://www.comingsoon.net which isn’t a good sign) I will give it a fair review and probably take a bunch of people to see it with me.  We may even rent out the whole theater.  I’m sure Jam can get us a deal at Cinemark in Asheboro.

4.  I wonder if TLC is “The Learning Channel” then what are they teaching us with season 5 of Jon and Kate(episode 2 is on as I type).  Why would the couple or the network sign on for 40 episodes in the midst of the beginnings of the current scandal(oh wait, I just dropped a dollar, now where was I)?  This season is going to be like Nascar-everyone is watching for the wrecks.

5.  I wonder how I game I am so terrible at(golf) brings me so much joy?  I will break 100 before year’s end.  Just gotta get my arm fixed first.  Is there such a thing as golfer’s elbow/forearm or that just called old man syndrome?

6.  I wonder why I made my wife wait while I finished typing this.  I’m an idiot.

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Weekend Wrap Up

1.  As a Trekkie, I loved the new Star Trek.  I think it was a succesful relaunch of the series and we will probably see at least 2 more movies with this cast.  Hopefully, one of them will involve Klingons.

2.  FUEL was great.  Matt Rhodes and Scott Simmons did a great job planning.  Andy Roy leads worship in a way that puts all the emphasis on God and Josh LeRoy pulled no punches and was very transparent.  Great to catch up with the SC crew.  Last year, we had 170 at the one at HQ.  This year there were close to 300 gathered at the 4 Area FUELS.  Though I like the ones with everyone involved, it seems like we need to do what reaches the most people.  Wherever and whatever we do, I will be there as Matt’s unofficial assistant and late night activities coordinator.

3.  Gonna blog about the Epicenter in downtown Charlotte sometime this week.  Somebody had a vision and has turned it into a fortune.  I have never seen so many youth pastors get carded in my life, but it was for the bowling alley and movie theater.  The night lifestyle costs a lot and not all of it is financial.  For many of the people we encountered, their drunken state was the highlight of their day/week.  We all agreed that if not for the grace of God, that’s where we would be too.

4.  I have to have a hard conversation with someone this week.  I could pass it off to someone else, but I feel like it’s my responsibility.  It’s about Competence more than Character.  They’re just not getting the job done.  I will have to get “permission” to have this conversation, but it must be done.

5.  Had an interesting experience at Mi Pueblo Mexican restaurant yesterday.  Lousy service, but it was the best burrito I’ve ever eaten.  Again, it deserves a full blog later this week.

6.  Got to make some FHTM business calls this week.

7.  I thought Annie Duke got robbed on the Celebrity Apprentice.  Personally, Mr. Trump, I think the only role models you could find on this show were Clint Black and Herschel Walker.  I don’t remember them cursing anyone or throwing anyone under the bus.  Were Joan Rivers 30 years younger and pulling her act, she would’ve been fired much earlier.  It was reverse ageism I think.  She won because she was old.  My son is older than her face though.

8.  Red Sox got a big win against Tampa Bay last night.  I just hope Pedroia’s injury isn’t that serious.

9.  For some reason, my phone’s ear piece isn’t working and I can only hear calls on speaker phone.  Also, my txt’s won’t go to Twitter anymore.  Not a good thing to happen when you’re out of town.

I’m off to Denton Elementary for lunch with the girls.  It’s pizza day!

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Yesterday was my first NC East District Conference and it had some good moments.  Every conference has it’s share of characters:  the person who talks way too long, the person who refuses to not read their report, the peanut gallery(youth pastor’s section), and confusing moments about when to clap, where to stand, and where to get your name tag.  I got two of those.  One with my name spelled correctly and one that said “Honorary Delegate Heath Mulliken.”  I got one vote for something as a layperson so I wasn’t even eligible.

Now, we had a crew of about 10 go to Asheboro to see the Dark Knight.  I wasn’t very emotional going in…not like Batman or Batman Begins although I was excited.  I answered a trivia question correctly before the showing(Batman first appeared in 1939) and won a Cinemark staff shirt with a Hulk promo on the back and a Batman-Gotham Knight poster autographed by one of the writers.  Now, I’m not going to give any spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the movie then read no further because I don’t want my opinion(which is great) to sway you.  You’ve been warned.  It’s ironic that on the day Andy and I were listing my top 50 movies that I saw what is now my favorite movie.  It’s the best movie I’ve ever seen. Period.  It’s not like watching a comic book movie but like watching an action psychological thriller.  Absolutely amazing.  Can’t say enough good things about all the performances and the Heath Leger Oscar buss is legit.  He is THE Joker.  There are at least 3 moments that took my breath away(sorry that sounds so girly) and made me say,”What?”  Now, this movie is not for the young or squeamish.  If you’re looking for Adam West then this is not the place for you.  Be prepared for a Silence of the Lambs type ride.  Gary Oldman is amazing as Gordon and hearing Michael Caine’s Alfred is like reading his lines from the monthly comics.  I’m making the trip to see this in IMAX in a few weeks.  Love to hear everyone’s thoughts.  I’m telling you, Chris Nolan has made his signature flick…until the sequel at least.

District Conference **.5

The Dark Knight ****

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