thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Friday, October 31

Apparently a lot of people are pretty upset about the CBS miniseries about the life of Ronald Reagan. According to his adopted son, Michael Reagan, the movie is full of fallacies and does not at all represent the "true" Ronald Reagan. If this is true, this is a very distasteful move on the part of CBS. But is this a surprise to any of us?

Well here's what I think:

You don't have to defend integrity.

Ronald Reagan's life speaks for itself. Was he perfect? 100% healthy? Apparently not. But he was a good man who did a lot of good for this nation. I say let CBS do what they want. In the end, integrity will have the last word.



I began reading an interesting book tonight entitled, Flyboys by author James Bradley. A couple of years ago, I read a book he wrote entitled, The Flags of Our Fathers, which was about the five soldiers who raised the flag on Iwo Jima - one of who was author Bradley's father.

Flyboys is about the heroic attemps made by the "flyboys" of WW2 over a tiny island in the Pacific named Chichi Jima to knock out the Japanese communication towers located on the island.

Bradley begins this book by giving a brief history lesson about the "ethnic cleansing" of the Native Americans by the early Americans and then goes into the history of Japan (which I'm finding are very curious subjects for me and believe it or not, Bradley ties it all together in a very significant way...). As the United State's "pioneers" ventured west, they eventually ended up on a tiny little island which sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean - Chichi Jima. Chichi Jima sits just south of Iwo Jima.

During World War 2, Iwo Jima was known as the best place for landing strips in that area of the Pacific and Chichi Jima was known for its communication capabilities. Chichi Jima was to become a stopping station for US ships to stock back up on oil, etc... Well, this didn't make Japan very happy and as history tells us, they ended up (many years later) paying the US back very aggressively and then in turn got paid back themselves by the US VERY, VERY aggressively. All so interesting, sad, appalling and exciting. So far a good read...


Thursday, October 30


There is nothing in this world that satisfies my mid-day palette than a 3 shot, extra hot, skim mocha - finished off with a sprinkle of cinnamon. From Starbucks of course...

Today is a beautiful day in Chicagoland. Sun is shining - in fact, check out my "2nd office" view by clicking here.

That's all I have time for now - I owe some good writing to my blog one of these days soon. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, October 28


Have you ever wanted to pretend that you are an eye doctor? If so, click here to try it out.


Monday, October 27


Author, blogger, idea person, Seth Godin, posted something worth reading on his site today. He is quoting a guy named Howie Jacobson who said in regards to marketing (you can find Howie's original article here):

"When I start marketing a product, I naturally start by talking to myself. I write sales copy that appeals to my values. I argue the price/value question in ways that I find convincing. I use layouts and pictures that affect me.

Bad Howie.

Unless my market is very much like me (which rarely happens, believe me), I'm going to fail.

I'm speaking Gorilla-ish to Dogs. To me, I'm saying "Buy my stuff," but they hear, "Run away! I'm a Dork."

I'm not going to succeed in teaching my prospects Howie-lish. If I want to communicate with them, I have to learn their language.

What a great point. How many of us, as pastors/church leaders, in our attempt of reaching "outsiders" spend too much time thinking about what might appeal to you or me as "insiders". We need to step out of our shoes and ask, "How will this be seen by my the people I'm trying to reach." Seems like a basic marketing "rule" to me, but then I think about how many times I've "marketed" from an "insiders" viewpoint.

Good article - thanks Seth for pointing me to Howie's article!



Oh man...what a day. This is about the time every Sunday night when I am about midway through my "Sunday Hangover". Not an alcoholic hangover - but just the Sunday church hangover (those of you who are deeply involved with a church on the weekends know what I'm talking about...).

But it was a great day today. I spoke today in our series "More Ready Than You Realize" about evangelism and the 3 "I's": Invest, Invite & Include. For an audio copy of this message, send $14.95 to PO Box 88811.... Totally kidding...

After the service, we had our first ever Orchard 101 - which is basically the first step in our POP process (Pathway of Purpose) - our spiritual "growth" path - the goal being to get folks from the "front door" to becoming "full court" followers of Christ. Today was our "intro to the orchard" and we had over 40 people attend the class. The best part about it was going through the "Getting to Know You" forms and seeing how many of these people were previously unchurched before connecting @ The Orchard. That is more fulfilling than almost anything I can think of...

Watched some TV tonight, which I rarely get to do... I've heard a lot about this show called, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Bravo, but had never seen it before - until tonight. It's a show where 5 gay (or in their words, "queer") guys help makeover a "straight" guy. And I've got to tell you - it was a fun show! I enjoyed it! These guys were having a blast helping to make this nerdy, NYC transplant transform his "look". And at the end of the show they sat down and watched him try to function without their help and it was absolutely HORRIBLE! All they did for this guy was put a bandaid over his situation. Poor guy...

Well I'm falling asleep at my computer which means I should probably go to bed. Glad tomorrow is Monday - sleeping in, laundry, laundry, and more laundry. Maybe a trip over to Starbucks in the morning to start my day right. Great day w/ the Fam.



Saturday, October 25


My blogging has been pretty much non-existant over the past few days... This week has been nuts, plus teaching tomorrow @ service and our "Orchard 101" class after that. Good news is we have around 40 registered! Exciting!!

Anywho... I'll be doing some writing again soon - thanks for checking in! (Thank God for that extra hour of sleep tonight!!)



Thursday, October 23


Don't forget to change your clocks back one hour this weekend! It's "official" at 2am Sunday morning!



Can you imagine what was going through this photographer's head at this moment??


Tuesday, October 21


Approaching hour number 16 in my work day... I'm in my office w/ some Jazz pipin' through my computer thanks to Internet radio and a good station down in Tempe, Arizona. I'm eating leftovers (which I normally don't do, but because of where I ate last night, I certainly don't mind...) and working on a "talk" for a men's breakfast I'm giving on Saturday.

Yesterday was Amanda's birthday - AND my day off! Double whammy! We had a great dinner downtown at . Click the logo to check it out.

GREAT, GREAT dinner... Very trendy Asian/American/French/Indian cuisine - wonderful!! Not overly expensive for the quality and portions of food. The creativity level of the food, atmosphere, etc... was fantastic. I give it.................4 stars. If you live in the Chicago area or are visiting anytime soon, I would recommend it. Here's what we had:

"from our hearth oven" fresh baked olive tart topped with tossed greens,
goat cheese, caramelized onions and basil

french onion soup with normandy's twist on tradition
onion broth, smoked chicken, apple and camembert

hot and sour baked rock shrimp
crab and sriracha stuffing, hot and sour vinaigrette

pan-roasted osaka black cod, soy and sweet mirin glaze
roasted spring onions, fork-smashed snap peas

chinese bbq pork and lobster "chow mein"
coriander noodles, sweet soyu and cardamom

Hungry yet? Ok - I've got to get back to work. I just needed a quick break. (Just returned from my 2nd funeral today...)


Monday, October 20


Several weeks ago, I told you about a very close friend's (Abe Savona) sister, Diane, who has been in and out of the hospital for the past couple of months with a severe kidney related illness. The doctors have recently notified Diane that she is in need of a new kidney immediately. Her situation is very serious and we are all praying for a kidney to be found very soon.

So I am writing for 2 reasons. One, please pray for a kidney to be found very soon for Diane. Secondly, if you feel compelled or even the slightest bit interested in being a part of the solution for Diane, I would like to ask you to contact her brother, Abe Savona, as soon as possible. The donor needs to be O negative blood type. Age and weight is unimportant. You can contact Abe at:

I know it might seem "odd" to put an appeal like this on my site, but Abe is one of my closest friends in the world and I want to do anything I can to help him and his family - and especially his sister, Diane.

Thank you for your prayers for Diane. I will keep you updated on her progress.


Sunday, October 19


Well I thought it would be a fun "daddy/daughter" night out last night... I've been wanting to take Elise (our 3 1/2) year old to see the 3D IMAX movie called "BUGS" for a few weeks now. In fact, we went a couple of weeks ago, got in line to purchase our tickets and when we got up to the man behind the glass, he informed us that the movie projector broke so it wouldn't be showing for another week. So we finally went last night.

It's a 60 minute documentary on, yes, you guessed it - bugs. Real bugs - not these fake cartoon bugs that talk and dance. I'm talking about bugs that look like anything from twigs and leaves to monsters and demons. In fact, they actually had a bug sex scene in this movie. Music and all. Imagine that. And in 3D too! Wow. (Try explaining that to a 3 year old...)

As the movie began, Elise and I settled into our seats with our popcorn and GIANT Cherry Coke. We placed our special "3D" glasses on our faces and patiently waited. Suddenly out of nowhere bug noises began coming from all over the room. Elise began looking around, almost hysterically, for the bugs she was hearing. I could tell she was getting upset about these noises, so I leaned over and said, "It's ok honey - their not real." And as best as a 3 1/2 year old could, she said something like this: "Yeah, whatever dad, you're full of crap - they're real and they are coming to get us, so let's get out of here!" And before she could complete that sentence, bugs began flying into our faces - spiders, ants, satanbugs, you name it. It was "ugly bug" convention at the IMAX. Elise jumped out of her seat, pulled her glasses off of her head and said, "LET'S GO HOME NOW!"

(Side note: This reminds me of when I was a kid and my family was settled comfortably in front of the TV for the very first episode of the Incredible Hulk (March 10th, 1978) and as Bill Bixby turned into the Hulk, I jumped off of the couch, ran up to the TV and shut if off and said, "We're not watching that!")

So back to my daughter and the bug movie... Needless to say, Elise watched the rest of the movie WITHOUT the glasses on and holding on to me very tight.

It was not a good experience for her.

It was also not a good experience for Amanda and me, as we stayed up with her all night trying to convince her that there were no bugs in the room. 3 hours of sleep last night. No more bug movies for a while...

PS - I have to mention the movie's sponsor. Ok, are you ready........ TERMINIX! I'll bet the bugs were pretty excited about that...


Friday, October 17


I saw a great metaphor for the church tonight. You can check it out here.

The author of the blog writes:

Imagine an art collector who finds rare and beautiful paintings that have been soiled and apparently ruined. This art collector rescues them from the junk heap, then packages them up in boxes and stores them in a warehouse indefinitely—still dirty, just safe (not perfect, just forgiven?). Not a very inspiring story, but this is precisely the metaphor that many churches have been working under.

He then changes the metaphor a bit and adds:

"Imagine another art collector who not only rescues rare and beautiful paintings from the junk heap, but also cleans them up and restores them to their original beauty. Now imagine that, instead of warehousing the artwork, the art collector donates them to museums all around the world so they can be seen by everyone—showcases to inspire artists and poets and lovers all over the world."

This sounds a lot like the New Testament (Acts) church. Making disciples - creating other followers of Christ who go around displaying (through their lifestyle and acts of service) what Christ has done in their lives.

It's about being people of action - people who are not just claiming to be "Christ followers", but who are actually following the acts of Christ - loving, accepting, offering hope and peace and all the other things that the world cannot offer.

If the church is truly going to make a difference in this world it has to offer something that the world cannot get anywhere else. People can go a lot of places to hear good music, good public speaking and even watch a great drama. But the one thing that they cannot get anywhere else is HOPE. So we better make sure that is featured on our menu every week - every day - and at every moment.

So how do we offer hope? You tell me. Comment.


Thursday, October 16


#1. No where in the world will you find more dedicated, loyal sports fans than in Chicago.

Go to any city in the US and beyond and find me sports fans who are more loyal than those in Chicago. You won't find them. That explains why you would see an elderly lady weeping in the stands after last night's game. She loved this team - probably like she loved her son or daughter. She probably grew up with her dad taking her to Cubs games as a child and maybe even remembers the very first time she sat down in Wrigley Field. She had lots of hope last night that this "was it".

#2. No one else can understand how this feels to a city unless a) you are from Chicago or b) you are currently living here and have caught the "spirit" of the fans.

It's as though it's a curse to talk about the game today. Even last night after the game, we didn't call each other. We didn't say a word. We just went to bed.

#3. We haven't lost our hope, joy, happiness, peace, or whatever you want to call it. We just want to grieve a bit.

#4. Since we are the best fans in the world, we will recover very quickly and continue to stand behind our teams. In my case - the Cubs, not the Sox. (Go ahead South Siders...hate me.)

So, to all of my bloggers and readers and whatever else you may be, today I immerse myself in sackloth and ashes and lay before the altar of my God. Ok, nevermind. I guess I won't go that far... But I will say a prayer for the old lady who I saw crying last night.



Tonight, as I was driving north on the Stephenson Expressway towards my home, I caught a quick glimpse of the tip of the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building way off into the distance. As I saw the flashing light on top of the Sears Tower, I couldn't help but think about the millions of people all over Chicago who were at home or leaving tonight's game with their heads down and maybe a tear or two in their eyes.

To Chicagoans and many people even beyond this great city, tonight's loss was not just a "loss", it was a broken dream. Had the Cubs been this close the World Series five, four, or even two times in the past five, ten or twenty years, tonight's loss might have been a little bit easier to cope with for a lot of people. But this was history in the making. Which makes me realize that with the Cubs coming as far as they did tonight, history was still made. And for that, the Cubs deserve a "hat's off". And maybe even a parade...

So Cubs - I applaud you tonight for a great season and some memorable games. Don't buy this "Billy Goat Curse" thing. Next year we'll show 'em...



Wednesday, October 15


Well in less than 2 hours the Cubs will face the Marlins in a "winner takes all" game for the World Series. Hopefully the fans will keep their hands to themselves tonight - unless of course, someone wants to help the Cubs by grabbing the ball from the Marlins. I know...double standard.

I actually feel a little bad about the guy who caught the ball last night. I still think it was a dumb move, but now they are publishing his name, work place, etc... on the Internet and I'm sure that it isn't going to help his "self-image" or his butt. I thought it was interesting how all of the sports announcers, team members, etc... were very quick to let everyone know that it was a "mistake" and that people shouldn't make a big deal out of it. Can you say "Quick PR recovery"? Or should I say, "Save this guy's butt comments"?

So anywho... I'm nervous, yet excited. I do think the Cubs will take the win tonight. But I still can't get over that "ocky" feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me otherwise. I guess that makes me a "doubleminded" Cub fan. Maybe I should start a group...


Tuesday, October 14


What should be done with this guy? Should he be stoned? Perhaps severely beaten? I don't know... But I can tell you that he should never be allowed into a baseball stadium again.
In case you don't know what happened - It was the 8th inning with only five outs to go before heading to the World Series, Chicago was confidently playing the game with the World Series in their view. The score was 3-0 and a CHICAGO fan - yes, you read it right - CHICAGO fan, caught a foul ball that was just inches away from landing in Cub's left fielder, Moises Alou's glove. After that, everything came crashing down. The Marlins proceeded to load the bases and scored 8 - yes, 8 runs, leaving the Cubs grasping for air with a final score of 8-3.

It's very possible that the overly excited Cubs fan - or should I say Cubs "moronic fan" - cost the Cubs a chance at the World Series. I know that's debatable and even perhaps highly unlikely, but all I can say is that this dude better watch his back for the next couple of weeks around Chicago. I might have to sick my parent's miniature schnauzer on him.



"Innovation is not an event, a tool, or an application. It is an overall environment."
—Monte Ford, SVP Information Technology and CIO, American Airlines




Today was the "enjoy fall day" for the Hodge family. The trees were beautiful, the weather was incredible (low 70's) and best of all, it was my day off. So we headed over to Kuiper's Farm in Maple Park to even further our fall "experience".

Besides the fact that this place is overpriced ($5.50 per person to basically walk around...), it was a nice time. Of course, we couldn't make it an official "Scott Hodge" event without stopping at the food barn where we picked up an apple cider slushie (MOVE OVER 7-11!) and a pulled pork sandwich - which reminded me of the pork they use at Chipotle Grill - (very, very good...). On our way out we stopped by the Kuipers store and picked up some apple cider donuts, some fresh honey, apple cider and caramel apples.

So, 60 minutes later, $50 poorer, lots of bugs in our hair, and with some good pictures in hand, we called it a day. By the way - the pic above is Elise posing with "Angry Hay Man" as I've come to call him. He's the demon possessed bail of hay. Watch out!


Friday, October 10


Hat's off to the Cubs tonight! You showed the Marlins what you're made of! Keep it up!!!


Thursday, October 9


"There's a difference between being busy and being productive."
—Kristen Lippincott, Curator, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England



I feel sick. For dinner tonight, I had a burrito from a tiny little burrito joint called Boca Burrito. The actual burrito was bigger than the restaurant itself. I can't go to bed in this condition, so it will probably be a very late (and loud) night.

Cubs won tonight, for which I'm very happy about. My hope is for the Cubs to face the Red Sox at the World Series. Here's the weird part about all of this - I am NOT a baseball fan, yet I am just shy of being fascinated with these games. I think that just knowing the history behind the Cubs (in addition to the fact that I live in Chicago) and the Red Sox has energized by baseball enthusiasm. No, let me think of a better word... It has "birthed" interest in me about baseball. Birth is better than energized. You can't energize something that's not already there.

We are beginning a new series Sunday @ The Orchard called "More Ready Than You Realize". It will be a four week series based on the book by the same title written by Brian McLaren. The "jist" of the series is going to be about redefining evangelism in the context of our current (postmodern) culture. In other words, how Christ followers can better relate to, respond to and ultimately reach those who are a part of our "sphere" of influence and beyond.

It's going to be a great series, as this is a topic that has been burning in my heart for quite some time now. What it all comes down to is this - In our postmodern context, I have to EARN the "right" to speak into someone's life. Sort of like that old John Maxwell quote, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Gone are the days of "Hollywood" preacher land or "I'm better than you" Christianity. It's time to wake up and smell the Starbucks coffee and be real and authentic with those who need what we have - which is not a bigger ego or a nicer car or a bigger home - it's grace. Pure and simple.


Tuesday, October 7


We celebrated Elise's December birthday a little early so that she could get some use out of her new bike! It's her first and I think she likes it. We couldn't figure out why she was having a hard time riding it until we looked down and realized that the training wheels were not touching the ground. YIKES! So after some adjustments to the seat, tires, training wheels, etc... she was done and ready to go inside. So - we'll try again in a few days with the "bike thing".


Monday, October 6


Let's face it. Sometimes "thank you's" can be somewhat challenging to write, especially when you're writing your Aunt Beatrice to say "thanks" for those socks she buys you every year at Christmas time. Well, Leslie Harpold has written an article that might be helpful as you figure out how to show gratitude via the written note. Check it out here.



I can't let too much time pass before saying congratulations to the Chicago Cubs winning their first postseason series victory since 1908! Hats off to Kerry Wood and the rest of the hometeam. I think Chicago (the city) is about ready to explode right now. I'm thinking World Series - Cubs VS. Red Sox. I think this would do to baseball what the Bulls did for Basketball in the early 90's. Plus - both the Cubs and the Red Sox need to move past the "curses" they've been carrying for way too long...

Ok, now I can stop acting like I'm a big baseball fan.




2 links to click on:

1) Article by Seth Godin in Fast Company Magazine about seeing what might be broken in what we do and how to fix it. You can click HERE to read the article.

2) Check out This site is described as, "A new project to make businesses more aware of their customer experience, and how to fix it." Fun site - until you see your "idea" listed on it...


Sunday, October 5


(Myself w/ Megan & Aaron today @ the wedding)

Congratulations to Aaron & Megan Link who got married today (Sunday) in Wheaton, IL. I had the privilege of officiating their ceremony. It was outside - beautiful day, except for the bees that were trying to attack everyone.

I met Aaron at Starbucks in Geneva (my second office) - where he works. Several months ago, I invited him and his fiance, Megan (she works @ Starbucks in Aurora) to The Orchard - they began attending and next thing I know, I was asked to officiate their ceremony. They are a great couple - Megan sings opera and Aaron plays guitar. It's awesome watching God work in their lives.

Best wishes Aaron & Megan!!!!



I knew this was going to happen... It's 12:13am and I am wired. I have to be up at 5:00am and I'm not bit. Tonight I went to a wedding rehearsal dinner for a couple whose wedding I'm officiating tomorrow (Sunday). The rehearsal dinner was scheduled to be at Emilio's Tapas Bar in downtown Wheaton, but the reservations got messed up, so all 50 or 60 of us trotted across the street to Gino's East Pizzeria. If you're from Chicago or know a lot about Chicago, you will know that Gino's serves up an excellent deep dish pizza.

The best part of the evening was going table to table and meeting a bunch of people and hearing their stories, etc... I met people from Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee and Colorado and heard a variety of accents. I even met a guy who was hit by a car while riding his bike........7 times! That's right - 7 times. I met another guy who crashed his motorcycle into a car going about 40 mph. He was pretty proud of that one.

Afterwards, I went to Starbucks to add some finishing touches to the wedding ceremony. One of the things I did tonight during the rehearsal dinner was hand out a card which asked this question, "How do you make love last?" I compiled all of the cards and threw a bunch of their quotes into my wedding "message". My hope is that this will add a fun twist to the ceremony. The best answer of the night: "Lots of Viagra and Prozac". LOL!

So while I was at Starbucks, I ordered a 3 shot grande skim mocha. It was about 9:30pm and now I'm wired. So I guess I'm getting what I paid for. And actually, the longer I stare at this computer screen the more tired I get.

Tomorrow I'm leading worship @ our 1st service and then leaving for the wedding. Then I'm coming home and SLEEPING. Then, around 8:00pm we will turn on TLC and become hypnotized by the $100k Trading Spaces special.

Well, before I bored you to death I better sign off. Goodnight blogger friends. Happy Sabbath.


Friday, October 3

CUBS ROCK!!!!!!!



I'm screwing around with my new feature that allows me to post pictures on my site... So here's one w/ Ted, Kathryn and myself screwing around a few minutes ago. (It's Friday afternoon, so we're all in a crazy mood...)



And I thought that the Bubble Gum one was bad...

Check it out here.


Thursday, October 2


So I'm standing in line getting a refill on my coffee and the woman in front of me is talking on her cell phone at about 100 mph and pauses to order her drink. The employee "rings" her drink up and says, "That will be $3.42" and the woman says "thank you" and walks away without paying. Suddenly we all look at each other funny and the girl behind the counter says, or actually shouts out to this woman, "MAMM, YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR DRINK. IT'S NOT FREE DAY." I laughed. The woman annoyingly walks back over, doesn't even blink and pays. As she's paying, the Starbucks girl looks at me and flutters her right eyelid as though she is saying to me, "People are crazy!" I flutter back in agreement.


Wednesday, October 1






This cute little guy paid us a visit last night.



When you have a culture of disciplined people, you don't need hierarchy. When you have disciplined thought, you don't need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don't need excessive controls. When you combine a culture of discipline with a culture of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.

- Jim Collins, Good to Great