thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Tuesday, March 29


Folks. It's time. The NEW blog has arrived. Change your RSS feeds, change your LINKS, change your homepage. It's the brand spankin' new.........

Visit it now by clicking HERE or by going to:




Something is wrong w/ the link. I figured out the problem, it will be up and running soon.

@#& technology. ;-)

It works now. Go to now.


The countdown has begun...

It's almost time. My new blog is almost ready. Stay tuned. Sometime TODAY (Tuesday) it will be PUBLICALLY released. (Who am I, Google?)

Stay tuned. Get ready to change your RSS feeds, links and homepages.


Friday, March 25

sam's daily dose

Sam Javanrouh is a photoblogger from Toronto. His photos are unbelievable. He shoots with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel 300D.

His site is one that I visit almost daily. Check it out.



Thursday, March 24

Blog Banner Contest Results

Wow... You guys are a creative bunch! What a fabulous response!

I've narrowed my decision down to a couple of designs that I really, really like a lot. BUT - I want to give you an opportunity to vote for your favorite banner before I make my final decision.

On the links below you will find a sample of the ones that were sent. There were more, but I'm sharing with you the ones that stuck out to me the most.

Click here for the first set of banners. (They are numbered, so remember the number of the one you like best.)

Click here for the second set of banners. (These are also numbered.)

Leave your vote in the comments section. And since Easter is only 3 days away and I have three services to prepare for, I will make my decision AFTER this coming weekend.

And let me say a HUGE thank you to all of you who participated! I may even alternate banners every few months just to show off all of the great ideas.

Now, go rock the vote. (I've always wanted to say that...)


Wednesday, March 23

Rick Warren on Larry King Live

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, was on Larry King Live last night. I have to say that I was very, very impressed by how Rick handled people's questions and even his comments about his own life.

Here's a snippet of Larry King asking Warren how he keeps his life balanced as it pertains to success:

KING: So, the question is, how do you keep your balance?

WARREN: Well, you know what, when the book, Larry, and this caller, when it began to become a big success world-wide, I actually began to got to scripture to pray about what I called the stewardship of have affluence and the stewardship of influence. And that was, God, what do I do with me money, and what do I do with the notoriety. Because, I don't think God gives either money or fame for your own ego, certainly not a pastor.

And I didn't want it. And in fact, that's the whole reason why I never put our church services on television. Twenty Five-years-ago I made the decision to never be on television as a church service, because I didn't want to be a televangelist. I didn't like the lifestyle. And I didn't like a lot of the -- I think always being in the spotlight blinds you.

And Kay (ph) and I made two very important decisions, based on two passages of scripture. First Corinthians 9 and Psalms 72. First with the money, we made five decisions. First was, we weren't going to change our lifestyle one bit, no matter how much money came in. So, we still live in the same house. We didn't buy a bigger house. We don't own a guest house. We don't own a yacht. I still drive a 4- year-old Ford. And we're just are not going to let money change your lives, and I'm not going to use it to impress people.

The second decision we made was, I stopped taking the salary from my church about three years ago.

The third decision is, I added up all that the church had paid me in the past 25 years and I gave it all back. And I did that because I don't want anybody to ever think that I was doing this for money, because I don't. I would have done it for free from the start if I could have. And now the book made it possible for me to give all that money back.

And right after I did that, I was interviewed by a major news magazine. And the first question was, what's your salary? And I was able to say, well, actually, I've now serve my church for free for 25 years. Then we set up, No. 4, we set up three foundations, one of them called Acts of Mercy, which is used to help those who are infected and affected by AIDS globally. And then the fifth is, we actually became reverse tithers, which means that when Kay and I got married, we began to tithe 10 percent of our income to charity, and each year in the last 30 years we've raised it a percentage, and we're not actually reverse tithers, so we give away 90 percent and live on 10 percent.
There's something about Rick Warren that is very refreshing. It's not to say this "his way" is the right way or what everyone should do, but I would say that he has, so far, done a great job keeping his life and his wealth in perspective.

Link to Larry King Live Transcript


Tuesday, March 22

Congratulations Mom!

Congratulation shouts to my mother, Loudene Hodge. Today was a very important day for her. In less than 18 months, she has lost over 100 pounds!

We showed up at her Weight Watchers class tonight to celebrate with her.

Mom, we are so proud of you! What an incredible accomplishment.

Now, let's go get some Krispy Kreme donuts! :) Ha, ha... Kidding!


Baby Got Book

David, I'm forever grateful to you for pointing your blog readers to this video clip.

It's a religious version of Sir Mix Alot's, "Baby Got Back." It's called, "Baby Got Book."

"I like big Bibles I can not lie,/ You Christian brothers can’t deny,/ When a girl walks in with a KJV/ And a bookmark in proverbs, You get stoked"

There's something really wrong/funny/sick/hilarious about this.



Monday, March 21

Blog Border

Hey guys - I wanted to update all of you on the "Blog Banner" contest. It's not over - you still have until midnight tonight to shoot over any last minute entries. Send them to: scotthodge (at) gmail (dot) com.

I've gotten some great entries! I will be posting my top picks as well as announcing the winner in the next few days.

Stay tuned.


Billy Graham iPod

It's here - the Billy Graham edition iPod.

U2 has one, why not Billy Graham?

From the site:

"Like no other, iPod Billy Graham Special Edition stands out. Jet black, it bears a prominent 'heaven blue' Apple Click Wheel and, on the flip side, the autograph of Billy Graham himself. Available for just $349, it comes with an exclusive Billy Graham poster and, of course, the signature white iPod earbuds."
Link (via)


Saturday, March 19

Church of The Customer

I'm constantly pulling great ideas from Church of the Customer - a blog from the authors of Creating Customer Evangelists. Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell always have something great and inspiring to say on their blog. (Maybe it's because they are from Chicago?)

(Their "big idea" is that the greatest way to spread the word about your company, church or organization is via "word of mouth" from the people who are loyal to the mission of the organization. Great stuff!)

Here's a link to a presentation that Jackie gave in Seattle a few days ago. It's a PowerPoint presentation done very well - and you'll grab some great thoughts from it.



Thursday, March 17

A Talk With Christianity Today

Last night I had the opportunity to sit in a room with the vice presidential team and CEO & chairman of Christianity Today International. I was invited by a new friend, Marshall Shelley, who is one of the VP's for CTI as well as the Executive Editor of Leadership Journal.

We gathered at the McDonalds corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. (Amazingly, I did not see one golden arch, but I must say that the campus is pretty impressive)

The conversation was a great one. I was intrigued as I watched their team passionately communicate their desire to take their magazine family (Campus Life, Christianity Today, Today's Christian Women, Leadership, and a bunch more...) to the "next level" and stay culturally relevant towards their market audiences.

Somehow I got invited to contribute to the evening by offering candid and straightforward feedback. (And God only knows that I'm usually pretty good at it...)

Through the course of the evening, we discussed everything from design to how to make their magazines more interactive (a.k.a. Perhaps a blog?) They even had a guest consultant present - Dr. Sumir Husni, a journalism professor from The University of Mississippi who's known as "Mr. Magazine."

More than anything, I think the most encouraging aspect of the evening was watching an "established" organization like CT vulnerably opening themselves up to criticism and new ideas. They begged for honesty and candidness.


How many of us in our organizations are intentionally putting ourselves in a place to hear people's perceptions about our churches, businesses, schools, etc...

If you are a pastor of a church, why not ask the non-returning visitors why they didn't return a second time? (But if you do that, make sure you let them know that you aren't necessarily trying to get them to come back, but that you just really value their input.)

If you are a business person or in sales, why not ask your former client why they didn't renew their contract with you?

Great job CT! And great job to any organization that has the guts to do the same. It's really the only way to go to the next level.


Wednesday, March 16

Peter Drucker on Making Decisions

Goodbye charisma. Hello responsibility!

Peter Drucker has some great things to say about a leader's decision making and getting things done. He points out that it's not as much about charisma as we tend to think it is. (Good to Great anyone?)

Eight practices that effective leaders followed:

  • They asked, "What needs to be done?"
  • They asked, "What is right for the enterprise?"
  • They developed action plans.
  • They took responsibility for decisions.
  • They took responsibility for communicating.
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  • They ran productive meetings.
  • They thought and said "we" rather than "I."
He also says that a decision has not really been made until everyone is clear on the following:
  • the name of the person accountable for carrying it out;
  • the deadline;
  • the names of the people who will be affected by the decision and therefore have to know about, understand, and approve it—or at least not be strongly opposed to it—and
  • the names of the people who have to be informed of the decision, even if they are not directly affected by it.
Full Article Link


Tuesday, March 15

Eyetrack III

Have you heard of eye tracking? According to my favorite online encyclopedia (Wikipedia) eye tracking is described as:

"...a technique used in cognitive science, psychology, human-computer interaction (HCI), advertising, medical research, and other areas. A camera focuses on one or both eyes and records their movement as the viewer looks at some kind of stimulus."
Now, apply this concept to your website. Where do people's eyes "hone in" on first on your site? What are the "priority" areas of your webpage that people tend to focus in on first? Are we taking advantage of those "zones" to communicate our message?

Check out Eyetrack III, a very interesting article/study about the "hotspots" of a website. The Eyetrack III research team observed 46 people for one hour "as their eyes followed mock news websites and real multimedia content." The article provides an overview of what they observed.


Brent over at the holland|simpson blog has been writing a bit about this.


Monday, March 14

Banner Contest!

Ok - it's a first.

A "Scott Hodge Blog" contest.

As you know, I'm relaunching my site via TypePad very soon. But... I need a customized banner to run across the top of my site. I've created a couple that look pretty good, but I know that some of YOU - my readers - could create one that would blow the socks off of mine.

So, here's the contest.

YOU design a banner for my site. For free. If I select yours, I will give you a special link on my site. I will also buy you dinner if I'm ever in the area you live at.

Yes, it's mostly a good deal for me. But it will also be a good deal for you if you happen to like Long John Silvers. (kidding of course...)

Here's what I'm looking for - something professional but fun. Since I live outside of Chicago, I would love something that is somewhat urban in design. On the banner itself, it should simply say this: "". (Unless you can think of a great tagline too...)

Email me your banners to scotthodge (at) gmail (dot) com no later than Monday, March 21st (one week from today.)

But beware... I'm one of those picky, anal people when it comes to design/fonts/graphics.

Let the challenge begin!


Moving to TypePad

It's pretty much official. I'm going to be switching over to TypePad. Blogger has been great (especially considering that they upgraded me to BloggerPro when I first signed on; which was great because they hosted my images for free...)

Snaps for Blogger.

I won't make the change until I'm comfortable with TypePad and finished working on my template design. So far I'm impressed with TypePad. It's easy to use and has some great features. I was really turned on to TypePad when I was guest blogging at Fast Company's blog, FC Now last summer.

Snaps for TypePad.

I'll probably link the domain to the TypePad site, so it will be an easy way to remember the link.

Stay tuned...


What Will Heaven Be Like?

CT has an interesting article about Heaven written by Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College.

Some good thoughts and somewhat comforting...



Friday, March 11


This is the scene next to me at Starbucks right now. What amazes me is that there are 7 women sitting at this table talking, but they are somehow making it sounds like 32 women.



Thursday, March 10


With all of the recent media attention given to the recent Michael Jackson "saga", I thought I would post a quote that a friend sent me today.

Pop culture is best exemplified by Michael Jackson, who in an effort not to fade from popularity, has continually reinvented his image so thoroughly that he has transformed from a black man to a white woman.
Mark Driscoll, Radical Reformission


Tuesday, March 8

All about meme...

This meme was passed along to me from Terry Storch. Thank you for the opportunity to share! (But what the heck is a meme?)

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
Dell Inspiron 5150 (Dear Lord, I want an iPod - just in case you forgot...)
Songs: 550
Capacity 60.0 GB
Available 34.0 GB
Total Songs: 2.1 GB

What is the last CD I bought?
The Best of Thelonious Monk

What was the last song I listened to before reading this message?
De Do Do Do, De da da Da by The Police
Driving my car to Starbucks

What are 5 songs that I listen to often or mean a lot to me?
Daughters by John Mayer
Walk by Faith by Jeremy Camp
So What by Miles Davis
Ordinary Love by Sade
In My Place by Coldplay

(Dang, that was hard.)

Bonus: Favorite Chorus - My Stupid Mouth, John Mayer

I’m never speaking up again. it only hurts me.
I’d rather be a mystery than she desert me.

Who am I going to pass this on to?
Chris, Kevin, and Troy


Napoleon Sound Bytes

Napoleon Sound Bytes.


"...She says she doesn't want you here when she gets back because you've been ruining everybody's lives and eatin' all our STEAK!"


Sunday, March 6

Next Step

What a day... It's the "holy hangover" times two.

Today, I, along with Amanda, accepted the role of Lead Pastor of our church - Orchard Valley Community Church (a.k.a. "The Orchard) here in Aurora, Illinois (outside of Chicago.)

This is the same church that my father pastored for 27 years until his sudden passing this past October. Three years ago, Amanda and I joined his staff to help lead the church through a "turnaround" journey. We committed to be there for six month. Ha.

I've been asked by a lot of people if we are "excited" by this change. That's a tough question - because in one sense we are honored, thrilled, blown away and just plain tripped out that we are here, leading this incredible church. In another sense, it's one more "event" in our lives that confirms the fact that my best friend, mentor and dad is truly gone. (Can you say roller coaster of emotions?)

But, nonetheless, God has a plan and we are humbled by the fact that He has found us worthy to lead this awesome, awesome, awesome community of Jesus followers, spiritual seekers and everything in between.

Definitely a WOW GOD moment in our lives.


Friday, March 4

5 Year Old Leadership

Conversation tonight between Elise (5 year old daughter) and Amanda (my wife):

Elise: "Mom, what are you reading?"

Amanda: "I'm reading a book about how to make your church a better place."

Elise: "Oh. Leadership Uncensored?"
What makes that both amazing and so cute is that "Leadership Uncensored" is a CD resource from Fellowship Church (Ed Young) that Amanda and I have been listening to in the car lately.

It's scary AND amazing how perceptive a five year old can be. The girl is already speaking the language of leadership! Yeah!!


Leadership Derailment

Todd Rhoades over at Monday Morning Insight shares a great synopsis from an article that he ran across on "Why & How Successful Leaders Get Derailed." It's an insightful article.

Thanks Todd!



Thursday, March 3

AIDS and African Life Expectancies

Changes in life expectancy in Africa due to AIDS. This is shocking...

Link (via)

Everytime I am faced with news regarding the AIDS epidemic in Africa my gut reacts with such pain and I ask myself what my response to this should be.

I'm interested in hearing from my readers on this topic. Please share...


Wednesday, March 2

Before & After

Thanks to Mr. Seth Godin, I've found a great website with free graphic design tips - it's called Before & After.

If you're like me and don't do graphic design for a living, but do design flyers, PowerPoints & brochures on occassion, it's definitely worth a read.

Right now, the free article is "Easy Cover Patterns."