Seminary Mourns a Loss in our “Family”: Mr. John Kalsbeek

Today we at the Seminary are also remembering and mourning the loss of a dear brother in Christ, Mr. John Kalsbeek. Yesterday afternoon (March 27, 2014) the Lord of glory called John home to glory after he declined in health due to many afflictions related to years of suffering rheumatoid arthritis. He spent his last days at Faith Hospice in Byron Center, MI, where he was kept comfortable through medication and especially the love and friendship of his wife, family, and church family (Faith PRC, and extended).

Mr.John Kalsbeek with the 2006 graduating class from Hope PRCS

Mr.John Kalsbeek (middle left) with the 2006 graduating class from Hope PRCS

John was a godly husband and father, and for many years a well-loved Christian School teacher in the PRC, serving in our Christian schools from Redlands, CA to NW Iowa, to Grand Rapids, MI. He was also, along with his wife, the long-time janitors of our Seminary building, coming in twice a week to clean our facilities. Since my time here at seminary I noticed that while Judy did the detailed cleaning, John liked to do the vacuuming, something I thought had to be hard for him given his condition (gnarled hands and frail body). But, as with all his labors, John did it cheerfully and without complaint. Up until last semester John – ever the learner even as he was an educator! – audited a class here at Seminary.

John was a gifted man of God and had some unique hobbies for which we remember him also: exotic frogs and fish kept in a multitude of tanks lining his home office; an amazing cacti collector and grower – the plants line the window sills of Seminary as we write, since while he kept them outside in his yard in the summer, he brought them inside here in the winter; a gifted painter – as any visitor to his home discovered – his paintings filling the walls; and a book collector and reader. Just last Fall he asked me to come and browse his library to pick out some books he wanted to donate to the library and to the students. Such was the nature of this wonderful Christian man.

John also served many terms as a faithful elder in my home church, Faith PRC.  And because he loved covenant children and loved teaching, even after retiring he willingly gave his time to teaching catechism classes.

We will miss John tremendously, here at Seminary and in Faith congregation. We can and do rejoice in his going home to be with Jesus, delivered not just from his physical afflictions, but from his sin and the buffetings of Satan and the press of this wicked world. We prayed for this at the end, and the Lord answered in His time and way. We now pray for the comfort of his wife and family. May they experience the peace of their Savior as He speaks to them out of His Word the gospel of His triumph over death and the grave.

May John’s comforting confession also be theirs:


  • Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?
    A.  That I with body and soul,1 both in life and death, am not my own,2 but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;3 who, with His precious blood,4 hath fully satisfied for all my sins,5 and delivered me from all the power of the devil; 6 and so preserves me7 that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;8 yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,9 and therefore, His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, 10 and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.11

Here is the obituary for John as it appeared in the Grand Rapids Press. And these are the arrangements for visiting John’s wife and family and for his funeral:

Visitation at Mattysse Funeral Home in Grandville

Saturday 5-8 PM and Sunday 2-4 PM

Funeral at Faith PRC Monday 11:00 AM


How Sweet It Is! « Seeking Michigan

How Sweet It Is! « Seeking Michigan.


For our archives feature this week we will depart from the PRC version and switch to a Michigan one. The Archives of Michigan published on its blog this past Tuesday (March 25, 2014) this old photo and description of maple syrup time in Michigan. Yes, with Spring finally here, the maple sap is flowing again – probably quite slowly, given our cold weather yet (We actually had a couple inches of snow this week and a low of  7 degrees (F) one morning!). But with promises of 50s and even 60 by Monday, the syrup should be flowing well.

What memories/stories do you have of maple syrup time where you live (in the north, I presume)? I recall taking our children to Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids to watch the process, and I recently saw a notice that they are still doing this. Fun times! And tasty syrup! Cracker Barrel blueberry pancakes with real butter and real maple syrup – now, that’s a good memory too! One that I think needs to be renewed 🙂

Below is a quote from the beginning of the “Seeking Michigan” post; catch the rest at the link above.

Maple Syrup and Weather

 Temperatures in Michigan are finally starting to warm up, which means that it’s time for maple syrup producers to get to work. You may not think about the weather when you put maple syrup on your pancakes, but maple syrup production is closely related to the transition from winter to spring. Freezing temperatures at night followed by warmer daytime temperatures cause maple sap to flow through the trees, so it can be harvested by inserting a spout. Once the weather becomes warm enough for the trees to blossom, the sap is no longer good for making syrup.

Calvinistic Cartoons: Give Kids 26 letters, not 2!

Calvinistic Cartoons: 26.

This is a great “cartoon” to start our weekend! When this “fell” in my email box this morning, it simply had to be our “Friday Fun” post for today. But I hope you catch its serious message.

Have a great Friday – and let your children be entertained (and educated!) by good books this weekend!