Author Archive -- Pastor Sam Schuldheisz

Pastor Schuldheisz serves as Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA. He graduated in 2004 from Concordia University Irvine. And he is a 2008 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Pastor Schuldheisz is also blessed in marriage to his wife of 7 years, Natasha. Together they enjoy the blessings of parenthood with their daughter Zoe. And when he’s not writing sermons or changing diapers, he enjoys reading and writing about the works of the Inklings and other belletristic literature, and Christian apologetics. He’s even been known to answer to Pastor Samwise on occasion.

Lego Bricks and Apologetics: Imagination, Art, and Sub-Creation, Part 1

October 27th, 2014 2 comments

Part 1 Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker. J.R.R. Tolkien, On Fairy Stories[1] Every child builds. Some build castles out of wooden blocks handed down from an older sibling. Some construct forts out of blankets, chairs, and miscellaneous living room artifacts. Some erect mansions and small municipalities out of Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, or any other plaything their grandparents or parents saved for them to enjoy one day. As fun as those pastimes   More…

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Good Storytellers Make Good Apologists

September 11th, 2014 1 comment

What makes a good apologist? We know some of the usual suspects. Eyewitnesses make good apologists. Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul, come to mind in the New Testament. These eyewitnesses—and hundreds more according to Paul—testify to the truth of the events they witnessed and recorded. Eyewitnesses are good apologists because they report the facts, hand down the events as they happened, and ensure that the reliable testimony is communicated to others. Close associates of eyewitnesses to the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection are also good apologists: think about Mark and Luke. Mark wrote much of the Gospel that bears   More…

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Heaven in Nebraska: Reflections on the 2014 LCMS Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music

  “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:17   This July, several of Redeemer’s music staff and I attended the 2014 LCMS Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music. Now, spending five days in Seward, Nebraska in late July may not sound like heaven on earth, especially for someone so acclimated to California weather, but it was. Why, you might ask? Well, it wasn’t because the weather was incredibly perfect – no humidity, clean country air, and a refreshing breeze – though that was   More…

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C.S. Lewis and the Grand Miracle of Easter

Note: Although there certainly are many more, here are a few of my favorite quotations from the writings of C.S. Lewis that only add to the joy and supreme gladness of this day. On Miracles In the Christian story God descends to reascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and   More…

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Tolkien and the Great Easter Eucatastrophe

Note: When J.R.R. Tolkien couldn’t find a word to express precisely what he was thinking, or trying to convey in his writing, he would simply invent a word. As he was a philologist, this is not difficult to imagine. So, when conveying the supreme purpose of the fairy story, what Tolkien calls the Eucatastrophe in his essay On Fairy Stories, he could find no word that suited his definition. This led Tolkien to coin the word, eucatastrophe. It comes from the combination of two Greek words, meaning ‘eu’ for ‘good’ and ‘katastrophe’ for destruction. In other words, it is a   More…

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“For All the Young Dudes and Gals”: A Lenten Midweek Sermon on Youth

Note: For the sixth year in a row, Redeemer is participating in a Lenten midweek pulpit exchange with fellow LCMS churches in the Southern California area. Each previous year the midweek sermon series has covered each of the six chief parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. Having completed the 6th chief part last year, this year we’re focusing on the Table of Duties and the doctrine of vocation. All of this culminates in a Catechism Convocation for the people on May 10th, 2014. You can find out more information by going to This year’s guest speaker list includes Rev. Dr.   More…

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Christianity and Disney’s Frozen

February 14th, 2014 12 comments

With the recent theatrical re-release of Disney’s Frozen the sing-along version came a resurgence in exploration of the movie’s themes and possible connections to the Christian faith. Some of the producers working with the film have even acknowledged the presence of Christian themes in the movie, calling them more subtle than overt. So, this last Monday I was glad to join Rod Zwonitzer on KFUO’s Cross Defense, to discuss some of the implicit and explicit Christian themes in the movie Frozen. Here’s the link if you want to listen to the program on KFUO’s on demand archive. If you’ve seen   More…

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Christian Apologetics and “The Hobbit”

The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous “turn” (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially “escapist,” nor “fugitive.” In its fairy-tale—or otherworld—setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you   More…

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A Sermon in Defense of the Incarnation

December 24th, 2013 1 comment

Text: 1 John 1:1-4 In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit + Amen.  There’s an apocryphal story that Luther once told: Once upon a time the devil attended Mass in a church where it was customary in the Creed to sing:  Et homo factus est, that is, “He was made man.”  While they were singing this, the people just remained standing and did not kneel down.  The devil was so incensed, that he slammed his fist into one man’s mouth, saying, “You boorish bum, aren’t you ashamed to just stand there   More…

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Diary of an Advent Father

December 1st, 2013 No comments

Note: Every year the LWML at Redeemer, Huntington Beach asks me to attend their Advent by Candlelight tea. It’s always a joy to share the Advent and Christmas story with them. Please pay close attention to the disclaimer at the end of the introduction. The following piece is a rhetorical device that works with the known historical facts from the historical documents. Enjoy. And a blessed Advent! Advent is a season of waiting. The world says: “Hurry up! Buy more. Buy now. Why wait? Only 33 days until Christmas.” Humbug to all of that, I say. There’s a better way   More…

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Thanksgiving Sermon 2013: “The Bread of Life”

November 28th, 2013 No comments

+ Day of Thanksgiving, November 28th, 2013 + Psalm 100; Deut. 26:1-11; Philippians 4:4-9; John 6:25-35  “The Bread of Life” In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we pray. And of course daily bread is more than that baked lump of dough loafing around on your table. Daily Bread includes all that is needed for this body and life. Bread is sustenance and life. But there’s a bit of irony in Jesus’ words “I AM the Bread of Life.” Because whether or not   More…

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A Thanksgiving Sermon: “Risky Giving”

November 28th, 2013 1 comment

+ Thanksgiving Eve & Day – November 21, 2012 + Day of Thanksgiving: Deuteronomy 8:1-10; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Luke 17-11-19  “Risky Giving” In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. “Oh, you shouldn’t have. It’s too nice. It’s too expensive. I don’t deserve it. You shouldn’t have bothered…“You bought me a present? Why would you do such a thing? Oh, I know you think you’re being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven’t given me a gift. You’ve given me an obligation.” (Sheldon Cooper, Big Bang Theory)   More…

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Atheist Mega-Churches

November 15th, 2013 5 comments

“Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.” –       Martin Luther, Large Catechism, First Commandment “During the service, attendees stomped their feet, clapped their hands and cheered as Jones and Evans led the group through rousing renditions of “Lean on Me,” ”Here Comes the Sun” and other hits that took the place of gospel songs. Congregants dissolved into laughter at a get-to-know-you game that involved clapping and slapping the hands of the person next to them and applauded as members of the audience spoke about community service projects they   More…

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Killing History: A Book Review of “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

October 24th, 2013 6 comments

Forget what you think you know about Bill O’Reilly. Forget about his right-leaning politics, his top-rated television show, and the millions of dollars he makes annually in books sales and entrepreneurial endeavors. And forget about his claim that God inspired him to write a book about Jesus. These are all rabbit trails, peripheral issues that will lead you away from the central issue regarding O’Reilly’s newest book, Killing Jesus. I must admit, I had mixed reactions when I heard Bill O’Reilly was publishing a new book in his “killing” series. On the one hand, his previous books such as Killing   More…

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The War Delusion

September 30th, 2013 8 comments

  The word cliché is the French vocable for a stereotype printing plate. Its function is to reproduce the likeness of a given subject over and over again. A cliché does not give an altogether truthful picture of that object. For one thing, a cliché is never more than two-dimensional; for another, it is not alive – once cast, it will never change. And even the best cliché is never more than a rough approximation of the real thing.[1]Uwe Siemon-Netto, The Fabricated Luther   One of the most popular clichés of our day is that religion is the greatest cause   More…

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