I'm Jon. I sing and play guitar in Hawk Nelson. I don't sleep much, and end up here occasionally, when an elusive trail of a thought won't behave and stay within 140 characters.
I tweet @jonsteingard.
Feel free to tweet at me or email me via the link over to the left!
Every Beat of My Broken Heart
Stories, Jokes, Movies - All my favorite ones feature a twist I was not expecting. The twist is why I’m a fan of M Night Shyamalan movies (yes I just googled the spelling of his name). It’s the reason why my favorite jokes are funny… and it’s the payoff at the end of so many of my favorite stories.
I think God likes the TWIST just as much as I do…. because it can reveal a new and fascinating side to something I thought I already had figured out.
The guys and I had been talking about our favorite bible verses the other day…. (I KNOW how that sentence sounds, believe me.. if I’m honest I didn’t decide on a favorite bible verse until the first time I was asked to put it next to my signature and I realized I wouldn’t look like much of a Christian unless I had one. Ha.)
One of the guys mentioned Jeremiah 29:11.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”
That’s a wonderful and comforting passage. It reminds me that no matter where I’m at in life right now, that God is thinking of me, and is already preparing a future for me. I can absolutely see why this would be a favorite verse of favorite verses….
I think, though… that some of us find this hard to believe. We look at our lives… our circumstances… our struggles… and we can’t help but ask…
"God, where are your plans? I don’t see them. If you plan to prosper me, why am I struggling? If you promise not to harm me, why do I feel hurt and wronged, sometimes even by other believers? I don’t feel a hope or see a future…. Where are you?"
For me, and I think a lot of us…. we read that verse, and it feels as though God is promising that He will eventually make life pleasant and comfortable for us. It feels like if we hold on long enough, believe strongly enough, and pray hard enough…. God promises to reward us with wealth, a family, a beautiful house, a job with paid vacation and medical benefits, and a healthy long life.
We are quick to say that we are aware that “these aren’t the things that really matter”…. butdeep down we believe that if God was really prospering us, we would surely have these things.
So sometimes when we don’t see these things in our lives, or even the hope for these things in the future, we can’t help but feel disappointed. We wonder if God really sees us, and really has plans to prosper us.
This, I think…. is the TWIST.
I’ve begun to wonder if God means something entirely different when He says “prosper”. What if it’s when we’re at our lowest points… when we’re in the midst of our deepest struggles…. that we have the chance to prosper the most? Life-changing moments come in many shapes and sizes… but the most pivotal ones… the most crucial defining moments, are often the hardest ones to live through.
In Genesis, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and he was sent to prison after that. He had done nothing wrong, yet he was treated brutally and unfairly. I’m SURE there were moments when he looked around and failed to see God in his circumstances… but in the end, what became of him? Second-in-command of all of Egypt, even as a foreigner. His own brothers didn’t even recognize him because his experiences had helped shape him into the person he was made to be. All other kinds of blessings aside, the true gain was who he BECAME.
Maybe God is doing that in our lives right now. Maybe when He says he has plans to prosper us, He means it the way he did for Joseph. Maybe God is already working in our lives to prosper us in His way. He’s not doing it in spite of our circumstances, He’s doing it through our circumstances.
What if His plans to prosper us don’t just exist in some rosy future we imagine for ourselves… what if He is prospering us in his own way - here and now? What if our circumstances aren’t evidence of God’s absence, but instead they’re the very things that enable us to EXPERIENCE Him.
I’ve come to feel God closest in my life during the tough times. These are the times I’m reminded of my need for Him. I lean on Him… listen for Him… and I can feel him shaping me into something better than what I used to be. It’s hard. It hurts… but it is good….. maybe even better than what I know how to pray for.
So this is what I believe…..
"Maybe the shattered parts are the places where Your love starts, and I am closer to where You are with Every Beat of My Broken Heart."
Made is finally out in the world! Get it at itunes here!
It’s interesting to me that in a sea of positivity my heart is capable of honing in on a single negative and dwelling on it. I know it’s not just me. I’m sure most of us can identify with that feeling. It’s like the whole world goes out of focus and all you see is this big glaring negative. Maybe it’s something someone said to you or about you… Or maybe it’s something you said or did that you wish you cold take back. Regardless, that negative moment becomes a world you can pack up and simply move into.
… and our hearts love to do it. It’s like they jump at the chance…. as if they were just sitting there ready to go. Sometimes it seems like deep down our hearts aren’t even on our side…. Like they are full of doubt just waiting to be confirmed….. And when a single moment arises that could be twisted into confirmation, they strike.
"See? You’re not very good at this." or "You haven’t changed a bit." or "You’re not good enough." or any number if horrible condemnations all of a sudden feel completely validated. It feels like a moment of clarity too. As if all of the good things in your life were just a dream. That’s probably the worst part. It disassembles confidence and dismantles joy.
But step back for a second.
Look at those phrases above. When we feel these things, they’re not expressed specifically like that…. They’re just FELT. When they’re written out we can examine them in the light of the truth….. and I have to ask… Who would say things like this? They sure aren’t coming from God. The one who made us tells us nothing of the sort. He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says we are loved. He says we are made good through what He has done. We have value because He made us and loves us. Each of us individually.
So if it’s not God, then it must be that other guy.
… And in a moment, our eyes shift. The negative is just a negative moment. Nothing more. It is fleeting. It has no power to pronounce judgment on us. No license to condemn us.
This sudden revelation brings life back into sharp focus. That negative moment is drowning in a sea of blessings and joys. Drowning. It was lashing out in a moment of sheer desperation, aiming save itself by clinging to the doubts in our hearts and minds. But there is no rescue for it here.
In moments like these, I am overwhelmed by the good things in my life, and almost crushed by the thought that I could have forgotten the sheer number of them. My wife. My family. A roof over my head and food on the table. Old friends. New friends. Coffee. Pianos. CS Lewis. Rainy mornings. Snowmen at Christmas. Brown sugar on oatmeal. Blueberries. Brainwaves. Late night conversations. New children. New beginnings. Skype. The excitement I still get in thunderstorms. Airplanes (flying metal birds, guys. Seriously). Boots. Early morning fog. All of it. All. Of. It.
The big picture becomes a little bit clearer, and as we zoom out on our lives, we see more and more beauty and fewer flaws. We see grace and forgiveness and hope. The further we stand back, the more we see God and the less we see ourselves.
So today I’m going to start my day with that thought…. And all I can really feel is gratitude for what God has done in my life, and for all the adventures still to come.
After a year of work, it is so exciting to share the new Hawk Nelson with you all! If you preorder at hawknelson.com, you get to stream the whole record immediately online. I think this is super cool, and so many are doing it already - if you’re interested in hearing what the new Hawk Nelson sounds like - go preorder the record and listen to the whole thing right now!
Love this! Lenny Kravitz hears a school band playing one of his songs down the street - and what does he do?
One of my favorite songs right now - His Kind Of Love by Group 1 Crew. LOVE THIS SONG………..
So excited that Blanca sang on one of the tunes on our new record MADE. Stoked to share that with you all!
Excited that our new single WORDS is out on iTunes today!
Recording some mini organ parts on a new HN song called Outside The Lines.
Love hearing feedback like this…. A commenter on the Words lyric video.
This song serves as a daily reminder to me. I work at a restaurant. When things get heated (and it does almost everyday) sometimes it’s all that I can to not swear at a coworker. But it goes far beyond swearing or profanity. I realize that it’s a huge blessing to edify and be edified through encouragement and praise. With our tongue we can praise God but with the same tongue we can bring down others - that’s how powerful our words can be. So I’ll let my words be few and say… Thanks :)
I just made the final lyric tweak on the last song written for MADE.
What a journey it’s been, this past year. So many unexpected twists and turns. God has been so faithful…. it’s amazing to look back and see what He’s done. So much to marvel at. Terrifying and wondrous at once.
This year I became an uncle for the very first time, and finally began to understand what’s to love about a baby.
This year I watched my sister battle cancer and and somehow still hold onto both her joy and her hair.
This year my wife and I moved from the suburbs into the big city and we feel closer to our friends than ever before.
This year the band I’ve been a part of for nearly a decade, and I expected to see laid to rest, was miraculously given a fresh start, full of new hope, new purpose, and new excitement.
This year God brought new relationships and ideas to life.
This year was hard, but it was so good. We always long for the mountains, but mercifully, God doesn’t spare us the valleys. That is where we grow. Growth, the painful, awkward process of becoming more than you were.
I did a count last night.
I wrote and co-wrote exactly 50 songs for this record. 50. I can hardly believe it. 12 will be on the record. The other 38 are the ones that got us there. The 38 are just as important as the 12. The 38 are the valleys. They’re the hard days. The days I doubted myself. The days I wondered if we were going to make it. They’re the days that reinforce God’s goodness. We need those days, so when He works it all for good in the end, we can stand back and say… “Thank you God, look what you’ve done. You are God. “
Or, as our manager, Ryan, likes to say….
"If every day was good, you wouldn’t know it."
"It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them."
One of my favorite tv spots I’ve seen in years.
A Million Miles Away in a Van
To get in the Christmas spirit, Daniel, Justin, and I perform an acoustic version of A Million Miles Away in the back of a minivan driving down the freeway.
Artwork for our new single - Words. Hitting radio towards the end of the year! (Goes for adds officially on Dec 26).
Hawk Nelson Behind The Scenes
[Left to Right] Scott Mills (guitar), Jon Steingard (vocals, guitar), Justin Benner (Drums), Daniel Biro (Bass)
Lots to keep you up to speed on in the HN world!
This past weekend we played shows in Montana and Ohio. We were thrilled to be a part of a Skull Church event in Bozeman on Friday night, and a Youth Explosion event in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, on Saturday. We had a blast sharing a night everyone that was at the shows.
We’re in the final stages of finishing our new record, and I can happily say that the first single is done and is headed to radio and itunes in the coming months! It’s looking like the single will hit at the end of the year, and the record will be out at the end of March, or thereabouts.
The first single is called Words, and we recently started debuting it at shows, along with several other new songs. This song really speaks to the heart of what God’s been teaching us over the past few months. The words we speak are a powerful testament to who we are and how we influence those around us. We truly have the power to speak life into others, and that’s what the tune is all about. We hope you love it!
It’s been a blast debuting new songs live these past few shows. For those of you that have come to our concerts over the past few weeks and months, you’ve heard quite a few tunes you didn’t know before… and I’ve been thrilled to see you singing along, grooving, and jumping like maniacs even still. Ha.
We really feel that God is taking us into a whole new chapter as a band, and we’re anxious to share that with you all at shows. At this point we’re playing about half new material, and half older tunes, and it’s been SO FUN hearing the response from you guys about the new stuff.
I’m sure that when we decided earlier this year to continue as a band with me as the singer, some might have thought that we were just dragging out something we should just walk away from. Some long-time fans probably worried that they would have to watch a band they loved falter and fail, trying to kick the can down the road a few more years.
This thought is one of the first things we discussed when we decided to move forward.
We made a commitment to each other that we weren’t interested in simply squeezing another year or two out of Hawk Nelson. We said…. “Ok, if we’re going to do this, it can’t be forced. If we move forward and doors are closing in our faces, then we walk away. But… if God opens the door, we walk through together.”
We decided we wanted to take this opportunity to clean the slate, and re-build something more fun, exciting, and meaningful than we’ve ever done before…. and with this new record, I honestly believe that’s exactly what’s happened. It feels to us that God has been preparing the way for us to be where we are now, and that He is doing something really cool in the midst of all this change and uncertainty.
That is why we’re already playing so many new songs live. For us, it would feel cheap to only dwell on the past. We are loving playing a mixture of old and new songs, so we can not only celebrate where we’ve all been together, but bring you along for the journey into the future. Hawk Nelson always has been, and will continue to be, a band that makes music designed to bring us all together.
The record will be called Made - and there is a song called Made on the record also. It’s an idea that’s been on my heart a lot recently…. but that’s another blog post. :)
Love you all very much. Thanks for all the great years together so far, and many more wonderful years to come…
P.S. Last Night’s Set List - Thanks OHIO! You were awesome!
Hawk Nelson Willoughby Hills, Ohio
What I’m Looking For* Your Love Is A Mystery Million Miles Away* Bring Em Out Live Life Loud Faithful* Words* California Friend Like That Elevator* Everything You Ever Wanted Crazy Love Anyone But You*