Part 1

How did a New Jersey family find Pilot Mountain, NC?

"And what happened after we landed in a beautiful rural community?"

A story defined by our simple desire to obey God and to know His will for our lives

Our Story

The Livin Lattes Cafe Experience

In May of 2005 the Lord sent our family to Pilot Mountain, NC to start something that would forever change

 the lives of each member of the Keener family, and our perspective on the Kingdom of God.


Like the father of our faith, Abraham, we sensed we were to do whatever the Voice of God led us to do matter how hard. 


We felt as though we were being summoned to get up from all we knew, and to "go" and "do" whatever

 the Spirit of God led us or told us to do for Him. During this scary time we found many dead-ends, 

hard turns, and even some times when we thought we missed our place in the great and epic

end time gathering of the Bride of Christ to prepare for His glorious return.

 There are many times in our lives when we might say, "Why not us?" 

Or there are times when you and I might say, "Why me?"  

After all, who are we?  We are and were just a regular family living a typical American life.   Living close to 

NYC on 9-11, the sudden attacks we endured that day motivated us to do whatever our God led us to do, 

even moving our family of seven away from loved ones and friends, approximately 575 miles south, to 

follow a quiet voice inside of us to a town where we had no connections!


After our 1st year in Pilot Mountain, in May 2006, we opened a cafe to connect to the people in our local community.  So we 

sought after and found the most centrally located and attractive and available retail location to attract as many people as 

possible to our cafe. 


 The best location was central and strategic, right in the middle of downtown Pilot Mountain.  The building was a historically 

preserved, 100 year old, 3-story structure that to us had great curb appeal (pictured below).  So we opened a coffee shop at 

first with the help of a christian friend who had 10 years with Starbucks.  A year later we decided to offer 

broad selection of gourmet sandwiches, soups, wraps, philly cheese styles, coffee, frappes, great music on

 weekend nights, outreach events, and Bible Studies and Worship. At this point I shut down a profitable distribution business

 to put every bit of my time and energy into the work of building up the business of Livin Lattes Cafe.

Our inviting and very pretty front door

"Takin Back The Streets" for Jesus

Three months after we opened Livin Lattes Cafe we sponsored an event called, "takin back the streets for 

Jesus". After the first event we have had two more, once each summer we take our prayers, preaching, and 

worship into the street.  The Lord has blessed us with miracles, salvation's, incredible touches of the Holy

 Spirit, and great fellowship. We believe we are being led by the Spirit of God to bring this event to cities all

 over of America when He wills. 

TBTS for Jesus

Calling all men everywhere to repentance!

calling the Body of Christ to gather!

God has promised to save sinners thru 

preaching His message... 


His way


After we moved in May 2005 to Pilot Mountain, NC, as I walked the pasture lands of our new home in 

the country, I heard a distinct whisper in my heart from the Word of God, 

"Dwell in the land, feed on my faithfulness. 

Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart". 

Ps.37: 3,4

At my grandmother's funeral in Oct 2009 I found out that these verses were part of her "life" verses

We do believe that the angels of God are here to

 bless us and keep us in the way we are directed 

by His Spirit to go! 


"And blessed [be] His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled [with] His glory. Amen and Amen."  Ps.72:19 

From one corner to the other we sense the 

Lord's abiding presence with us! 

Now for the Rest of the Story!

Some of the main players in our story

the Keener young ladies!

They served many a "Livin" latte, smoothie, or frappe

 The LL Cafe Launch... will this idea work?

With our hearts filled with giddy expectation and hope, very anxious to start a new life in Pilot Mountain,

 NC, our family moved forward with great zeal carrying our call to bring blessing to our town.  We knew we

 were involved in something bigger then ourselves, almost oblivious of the challenges that lie ahead. Our 

kids, girls, were very excited to help us with this new plan to reach our neighbors with God's love. 



Little did we know that soon our pastoral vision of rest, renewal, and restoration on our 21 acres would 

undergo a major overhaul after we realized that in order for an area to have revival or restoration we 

actually had to "connect" with those who would be a part of this fresh move of God. 


The thought of opening a cafe or coffee shop never entered our mind until we realized after several months

 of unsuccessfully inviting our neighbors to our home, we then decided to take our "living room" and family

 to Main Street. 


  Two months before we opened Livin Lattes Cafe, our sixth child, baby Stephen arrived on the scene.  


As crazy as that sounds, God added another child to our family eighteen months later, Zachariah. 


Today, Dec. 2013, we are comprised of ten people with 2 daughters now attending college. Though most of us are young in 

age and experience, we feel that the Lord is leading us, as a family, to build His kingdom where ever He

 leads us to serve Him and His People. As the faith walk was hard for our forefathers, so it has been for us. 


We have been, many times, completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of being good parents and at 

the same time be the most effective ambassadors for Christ as we seek to be.  To obey His mandate and fulfill His desire 

to restore His Body before His Return to our earth. 

We opened our cafe to connect with our neighbors, but we also opened a door to the wildest adventure of

 our lives. When we launched Livin Lattes Cafe, my very busy wife, Sharon, after having delivered our sixth 

child, Stephen, became, at her beckoning, the creative genius and the heart and soul of our operation.


Add to her challenge of balancing retail hours with family responsibilities and being my wife, she did an 

amazing job. A work of faith like I have yet to witness in a mother. Especially since she and I had never run 

a coffee shop before or had any "real" retailing experience.  Like a bunch of wild-eyed simpletons, we 

trusted in God's grace to guide us and to make Livin Lattes attractive and a tasty experience for the locals 

and  anyone else who ventured in our establishment..and there were many others that were led to LLC. 

"I remember this young couple who would visit a couple of times a year from

 Washington DC. They came because they said the food was amazing. During a conversation with them 

we found out that he was a chef on Air Force One."


The story of a small and very cute town with no place to hang out... 

Like so many others in our country

Why in the World, Pilot Mountain?

When we first took our first glance at downtown Pilot Mountain we saw great potential for growth.  A quaint 

downtown that was starting to wake up after several years of being abandoned by two large industries.  

Mount Pilot was the name that Andy Griffith gave the town that was just 10 miles south of Mayberry.  Even

 though our idea was early for Mount Pilot, we believed that our timing was right to open a trendy upscale 

cafe in an old time town simply because there was no place like a Livin Lattes to go and have a great latte 

or smoothie and to then hangout and relax with your friends.


"When traveling musicians came through our town, they would look at us and say, 

"I wish we had a place like this when I was a teenager in my town"


I believe with all my heart that the cafe setting is the best setting to build a community-based church!  

Why?  Because a centrally located cafe create the most necessary ingredient to real relationship, conversation

 and heart connection, without  quality conversations and real relationships a church will not become what it

 is supposed to be - a living cell within the entire Body of Christ! 

Even though many of the locals thought we were crazy to open a coffee shop in Pilot Mountain, we just 

believed that God was in our bold move and that somehow He would work things out for us!  We knew the 

town was ripe for new things.  A new and young city manager had just been hired and he was excited to 

have a coffee shop in his town. 


Along with the town manager, we met and built relationships with so many wonderful people of all ages.  

Some were town and county government leaders, teachers and principals, and local business leaders and 

many wonderful community-minded people.  During this time, we believed that great growth and life were

 just around the corner for our town and region. 


 While our optimism was profound, our neighbors would often tell us, "until the older folks die off Pilot 

Mountain, it will never change"!  This sentiment made no sense to me.  I would ask myself often, "we are 

going to wait for people to die before we work for change?" I kept thinking, this can't be the way to fix 

these kinds of community problems.

How in the world do we run a cafe?

After the first few months in operation, we felt deep in our spirits that something was holding this beautiful

 area from its destiny; I was about to face this resistance head on.   At first I called it a "poverty spirit", later

 on I saw that it was Pilot Mountain's history holding her back from her intended God-given destiny.  The 

town was built on the foundation of conflict.  From the tribal wars that were fought by Cherokee Indians

 against their foes, to the conflicts that arose among  the early settlers, to the revolutionary and civil wars

 fought on and around the mountain, to the last few decades of racial prejudice and the continued attitude

 of the "haves" verses the have-nots", had all but maintained the realities of the status quo of a "divided" 

town, racially and financially.  


All forms of false religion and idolatry form the backdrop of Pilot Mountain to help maintain the division 

among those who would call themselves religious, and there are so much cultic activity in this region. 

These lies of the enemy are blinding the people from receiving the true gospel message of grace found 

exclusively in the cross of Jesus Christ.   Even with so much potential to make a great town, the spirit of 

religion keeps many families and people apart.  Those who seek truth and lively worship leave town on 

Sunday to find greener pastures, those of us who stay stand many times alone, clinging to the hope that

 God is going to prosper His Word concerning the future of Pilot Mountain! 

Above - Our tasty Veggie Wrap

Left - Our very popular Chicken Salad Croissant 

More Dreams... and learning how to listen and obey God!

Soon after we opened the Lord gave me a very significant dream in which I was digging a hole to plant a 

cross into the ground on the front side of our building.  While I was placing the cross into the ground 

a verse from Gal. 3:13 was going through my head over and over again.  


The next morning I made a cross from pieces of 4 x 4 wood and had one of our employees plant the cross 

right next to the cafe with the words from Gal.3:13 "cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree" 


After the cross was placed in the ground by one of our employees, I was the one who was that was 

responsible to put this personally built cross in the ground, but quite Interestingly, the height of the cross

 matched perfectly with the height of my shoulder blades as I stood up next to the hand-crafted cross of

 wood. And this is the same cross that still appears in the background of my preaching and teaching videos.


Soon after this dream, I had another dream in which I was lying flat on my back in the center of the town; 

my head and feet were north and south on Main Street and my arms were stretched east and west on Depot

 Street.  I had no idea what this dream really meant to me and my family until later in 2010.  


In 2009, our area received about 6" of rain in a 2-hour period, which flooded many low lying areas around

 Pilot Mountain. Our creek swelled into a mighty river, as it crested it swept the cross downstream. I thought

 it was lost but after walking a few hundred feet downstream, I found the cross wrapped around a little tree.

At present, we are still wondering what God is up to, we have been following the cloud and at times sitting and waiting on

 God for the last very transient four and a half years (as of July 2014) to open our cafe again... 

if that remains in the will of God for our family.



We went very public with the idea that God would not let a family down that puts their complete faith in His 

Loving Power and Grace to guide and protect His children. Exclusively by faith we walk in the reality that 

Livin Lattes best days are yet to come. 


In spite our mistakes and our inability to win the leaders of Pilot Mountain, we know that God will honor

 those who honor Him!  We are still waiting for His response to our public faith declarations. 

God's ways are mysterious, we are not the ones commissioned to carry on the work of restoration in Pilot Mountain 

or in any town or region where we are sent. The Lord moved on Pilot Mountain after we were sent to CA in 2011 and 

now in 2014 we seek Him as we settle back into the small town of Pilot Mountain, NC in a beautiful rented home 

right in the center of town.  Only God knows how He will fulfill our heart's desire (look at picture above).


As Is. 64:4 states,

"For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived 

by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,  a God..."

"who acts for the one who waits for Him."


The rocks of Pilot Mountain

The kids on side of the mountain


This guy thinks he's Jesus!

In a moment of time I became a public preacher of the cross, I received the moniker of "Jesus" man, as my

 hair grew longer and my attire more and more simple, I looked different on the outside, but I truly knew 

that God the Father was molding me into a different person on the inside. A radical. Unafraid of public 

scrutiny and ridicule, unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  


Overnight, our quiet rest and retreat adventure became an all out war with Pilot 

Mountain's past, simply because I believed that the "Jesus" Message should be public

Facing unknown forces and their spiritual accomplices combining to resist the eventual and inevitable

 blessing that will we believe are coming to Pilot Mountain in spite of my long hair or perceived radicalness 

...and in spite of my many mistakes!

In Rom. 4:3 we are told that Abraham believed and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  If it was 

hard for Abraham to leave Mesopotamia, it will be hard for you and me to leave all that we know and our

 land of our comforts,to do something way beyond our experience because God led to this impossible 

situation.  Can we really read the Bible with a measure of faith and the experience of our forefathers?  

We have become soldiers of the cross, dying with Christ and living in Him and walking in His footsteps? 

Phil. 2:5-11 states,

 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

these sobering words of Jesus found in Luke 9:62 

"Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow

and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."  


This word of perseverance has kept us focused on moving God's agenda forward to do what the Lord had called us 

to do.  After 4 years  of arduous and gut wrenching effort, the investment of all of our money ($200,000),

and all the spiritual, emotional, and physical energy we could muster, has brought us to a place of 

stuckness!  Though we are tired and broke, we know God has to fulfill His Word of "restoration" to our 

neighbors someday soon!


Livin Lattes International is looking forward to what the Lord is going to do next to fulfill His Word to us!  

Even though the enemy has used a spirit of jealousy, old town politics, a spirit of control, and nepotism, 

we must obey God's call on our life. The Word of God over our lives animates us forward.  We will raise 

up the next generation leaders in His Love. We will inspire them to reach their peers with timeless love of 

God.   If we faint not, others will be inspired to do likewise.

Our Men of Destiny!


What's next for Livin Lattes?

We believe that entire cities, regions, and nations will be won for the Kingdom during

this time of harvest in the vineyard of God's elect!

We want to help you to do what we have learned the hard way in our struggle to obey God. 


Read below. 

God is up to something, and it is coming soon to planet Earth



"Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in

 a day or a nation be brought forth in a momentYet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives

 birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the Lord.

 "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. "Rejoice with Jerusalem and

 be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.

 For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in 

her overflowing abundance."

The next generation leaders await the Body of Christ to come together

and agree to "restore" our land by simply preaching and living the 

the Gospel according to Jesus Christ

Unorthodox?   Yes! 

Effective?    Most definitely!


Final Word from the Word of God!

" the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all [men], 

that I might by all means save some."  

 1 Cor. 9:22

This picture taken in literal Nazareth.

Paul could say that his love for sinners drove him to do unorthodox things to win

many to Christ, you know who taught Paul this method?

Jesus - Yashua of Nazareth