Category Archives: Church

Don’t Feel Guilty for Not “Going to Church” on Christmas Day!

Christmas day lands on a Sunday this year. I have noticed that fact has stirred up some debates online among Christians about whether or not it is acceptable for a church to not schedule a “worship service” on Christmas Day.

One of the pastors in our region took to social media in a rather aggressive fashion, basically accusing any churches of not holding a full-fledged worship service (or services) at their routine time(s) as compromising their faith and being disobedient to the Lord, and any church members not attending of being the same: compromising and disobedient. At first I started to respond to his public social media but then I noticed plenty of Scripturally-informed believers had already done so. Unfortunately, the pastor just dug himself in even stronger and would dismiss them without any reasoned response.

Another pastor in our region took a much less aggressive approach, addressing his congregation rather than the public at large, but still telling them that going to church on Christmas Sunday morning was something that Christians needed to do.

In a day and age in which there is far too much compromise in the churches and among Christians it is easy to fall prey to this line of thinking (regardless of the degree of intensity of the messenger).

But in an effort to be faithful to the Lord and not compromise or be disobedient, we must also be careful to make sure we are being SCRIPTURAL, something the afore-mentioned pastors failed to do.

Is it wrong for a Christian to choose to spend Christmas day with their family rather than “go to church” that morning? Is it wrong for a church to not offer a worship service on Christmas Sunday morning, but have it on Christmas Eve instead?

Answers? No, and no.

And here’s why: nowhere in the Bible are Christians commanded to gather together on Sunday.

Yes, the Scripture commands us to meet together regularly (see Hebrews 10.25, for example). But no where does Scripture say it has to be on Sunday. In fact, the Scripture commands us not to let other judge us on this topic (see Colossians 2.16).

It’s true that Bible gives examples of the early Christians gathering on the first day of the week (Sunday). But that’s description, not prescription. Another way of saying it is that is an example not a command. It’s also true that throughout Christian history, Christians have overwhelmingly chosen Sunday as their primary day for gathering together to worship the Lord. But that’s simply tradition, not a command from the Bible.

And yet there are some Christians who consider it compromise if a Christian spends all of Christmas morning with their family or if a church doesn’t offer a Sunday morning gathering opportunity but only offers a Christmas Eve service this year (like our church is doing).

This is a classic example of confusing an example in the Bible or a tradition through church history with a biblical command. To say that Christians MUST go to church on the specific day of Sunday or to say that it is wrong for a church to choose to gather on Christmas Eve this year instead of Christmas Day is a form of legalism.

So, if your church chooses to have a “worship service” on Christmas morning, wonderful. Nothing wrong with that. And if you choose to go to a worship gathering on Christmas day, at your church or elsewhere, good for you. Just please don’t judge other Christians for not doing so. You have no Scriptural basis.

Here is a podcast episode from this past summer where I talk about not confusing description in Scripture with prescription, with some special emphasis to the topic of what day of the week in which churches should gather…

Special Summer Series on Sound of Truth Podcast

For the summer of 2022, we’ve taken a short break from our normal routine of publishing Bible Chats and Weekly Interviews. Instead we are releasing weekly episodes on the topic of the church.

#1… Ep. 157 – Why Churches Must Change

#2… Ep 158 – Reading Into the Bible How We Do Church (Anachronistic Bible Reading)

#3… Ep 159 – Mistaking a Description  in Scripture as a Command for Everyone

#4… Ep 160 – Churches Should Always Be Reforming

#5… Ep 161 – The Three Most Important Types of Church Gatherings

#6… Ep 162 – The MICRO Church

#7… Ep 163 – The ATOMIC Church

#8… Ep 164 – Attractional Church vs. Missional Church

If you have never accessed our podcast, it is available on all major podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and others. Simply search for “Sound of Truth Podcast with Brett Maragni” and ‘subscribe’ or ‘follow’.

NAMING our Facility (Where We Meet on Sundays for Our Congregational Gathering)

If I have said it once I’ve said it a thousand times…


And yet what are we stuck in the habit of calling the facility we lease at 11570 San Jose Blvd?

You guessed it… a church.

Examples of how we mis-use this word abound. Here are a few examples:

“I’ve got to run by the church to pick up something.”

“How about we meet up at the church?”

“It’s near our church.”

And on and on it goes.

Our words are not matching our beliefs. We are believing one thing in our minds and saying something different with our mouths.

I’ve been asked more than once, “Why are you making such a big deal about this?”

Because words matter. Everywhere you look words matter. Right now in the United States of America there are certain words that will absolutely bring about the ruin of you life if you say them. People get fired from their jobs every day in America for uttering the wrong word or words. People get canceled because they slipped up and committed the culturally unforgivable sin of saying a politically incorrect word.

Every time I refer to our facility as “our church” I am, even if unintentionally, reinforcing an unbiblical view of Christ’s church that is prevalent in our culture.

One of our objectives at Harvest is to change the way people think about Christ, Christians, and the Church. This is one of the ways we can help advance that cause.

The Word CHURCH in the New Testament

We KNOW in our minds the truth about how the word church is used in the New Testament…

A – The church is the people of God redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

The vast majority of the uses of the word church in the New Testament fit this definition. This use of the word church is used to refer to both a local group of Christians or the “universal” church of all Christians of all times in history.

B – The church is an assembly (a gathering) of God’s redeemed people (even if it is only 2-3 people).

Wrong Ways to Use the Word CHURCH

But here are some ways the word church is used today that are biblically indefensible: the church is a non-profit organization, the church is the clergy, the church is a denomination, and, most common, the church is a physical building or campus of buildings.

It is never used in the Bible to refer to a non-profit organization.

It is never used in the Bible to refer to the clergy (Merriam-Webster: “the clergy or officialdom of a religious body”).

It is never used in the Bible to refer to a denomination.


It is never used in the Bible to refer to a building (Merriam-Webster: “a building for public and especially Christian worship”).


So we would be wise to stop using the church to refer to a building, a denomination, a non-profit organization, or the clergy of a religious body.

Let’s be biblical with our language about the church. It really does matter.

In order to overcome a bad habit, it’s good to replace it with a good habit. Fill the void with something more appropriate. That is why Harvest Jacksonville is looking to come up with a name for our facility.

Next week we will be revealing a long list of all the suggested name possibilities for our facility. Pray that God gives wisdom to our elders as we select a name. Thanks for your interest!


There are 59 “one another” (or “each other”) commands in the New Testament. But because of repetition, the list can be reduced to 34… 28 positive commands (do this), and 6 negative commands (don’t do this) :

  1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9.50)
  2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13.14)
  3. “…Love one another…” (John 13.35×2,25;15.12,17; Romans 13.8; 1 Thessalonians 4.9; 1 Peter 3.8,4.8; 1 John 3.11,23;4.7,11,12; 2 John 5)
  4. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12.10)
  5. “…Honor one another above yourselves.  (Romans 12.10)
  6. “Live in harmony with one another…”  (Romans 12.16; 1 Peter 3.8)
  7. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…”  (Romans 15.7)
  8. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15.14; Colossians 3.16)
  9. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16.16; 1 Corinthians 16.20; 2 Corinthians 13.12; 1 Peter 5.14)
  10. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (1 Corinthians 11.33)
  11. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12.25)
  12. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5.13)
  13. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6.2)
  14. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4.2; Colossians 3.13)
  15. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4.32)
  16. “…Forgiving each other…”  (Ephesians 4.32; Colossians 3.13)
  17. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5.19)
  18. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5.21)
  19. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2.3; 1 Peter 5.5)
  20. “…Admonish one another” (Colossians 3.16)
  21. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (1 Thessalonians 3.12)
  22. “…Encourage each other…” (1 Thessalonians 4.18, 5.11)
  23. “…Build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5.11)
  24. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10.24)
  25. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5.16)
  26. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5.16)
  27. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4.9)
  28. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (1 Peter 4.10)

The NEGATIVE “one-anothers”:

  1. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14.13)
  2. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5.15)
  3. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5.26)
  4. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3.9)
  5. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4.11)
  6. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5.9)